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Greek gov’t serious about smoking ban

Marketplace Staff Sep 1, 2010
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Greek gov’t serious about smoking ban

Marketplace Staff Sep 1, 2010
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: I remember the first time I went to Greece
to see my family. I was a smoker, got off the 12-hour flight, and asked at the airport if I could light up. The man at customs said to me, “This is Greece, you can smoke anywhere!” Well, that’s about to change.

From Athens, Joanna Kakissis reports.


JOANNA KAKISSIS: Cafe owners say the Greek economic crisis and a raft of new taxes have hurt their business. Now the anti-smoking crackdown will make things worse.

For 25 years, Thomas Delilingas has been running his small cafe, Las Vegas, in the quiet Athens neighborhood of Galatsi. It’s a place where people play pool and cards and talk about the latest soccer game. Everyone drinks coffee the strong Greek liquor called ouzo. And until yesterday, everyone smoked.

Today, Delilingas is glum. He has had to shoo away several customers because they wanted to smoke. And if he lets them, a new Greek law will fine him hundreds of dollars.

THOMAS DELILINGAS: People here have learned to drink their coffee, to drink their ouzo, while having their cigarettes. The cafe owners should be able to decide whether to allow smoking in their area or not. I am trying to run a business here. I can’t play police officer on my customers.

Delilingas himself doesn’t smoke and can’t stand the smell. But fate, he says, made me a cafe owner and business is business. And right now, Greece needs all the business it can get.

In Athens, I’m Joanna Kakissis for Marketplace.

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