By Constantinos Psillides
Police will launch a two month anti-smoking campaign focusing on enforcing the smoking ban, police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou announced on Tuesday.
Following a press conference on World No Tobacco Day on May 31, Chrysostomou pledged a zero tolerance policy for all those caught smoking indoors in public places.
Smoking in public places, night-clubs, bars and restaurants was completely banned in January 2010, after a law was passed in July 2009. Compliance with the new law varies, as police have been lacklustre in enforcing it.
The fine for smoking indoors is €85.
In 2014 police conducted 24,966 raids in public places, where 2,857 people were fined for violating the smoking ban. In 2015 there have been 1,620 reports so far.
The police chief admitted that the legislation is not perfect, adding that the health ministry is working towards amending it.
“We have made a number of suggestions, including stricter fines, taking the establishment to court and not renewing the operating licence for owners who are repeat offenders,” he said.
The health service’s Herodotos Herodotou presented the new anti-tobacco European directive, which focuses on preventing youth from being exposed to cigarettes.
“The EU’s aim is to make tobacco products less attractive to young people. The directive calls for a 65 per cent coverage of the packet with warning labels and photographs. The directive also calls for a ban on aromatic smoke, including electronic cigarettes,” he said.