By Constantinos Psillides
THE ANTI-CANCER Society has taken MPs to task for smoking inside the parliament building, after receiving a number of reports saying that deputies were violating the smoking ban.
The society’s criticism comes after complaints by Green’s MP Giorgos Perdikis and an internal memo, issued by House president Yiannakis Omirou, reminding MPs not to smoke in the building.
Smoking in public places, night-clubs, bars, restaurants has been completely banned since January 2010, after the law was passed in July 2009. Compliance with the new law varies, as police have been lacklustre in enforcing it. Fines for violating the smoking ban are scarce and the latest complaint is not the first time parliamentarians have been were criticised for flouting the law.
In a press release sent on Monday, the Anti-Cancer Society reprimanded parliamentarians describing as a “disgrace” that were breaking laws they had voted for themselves.
“How do we expect people to obey the law when members of the parliament violate it at their leisure?” asked a representative of the anti-cancer society. “How do we expect restaurants and clubs to force people to not smoke indoors? They give a really bad example, they are irresponsible and they should be ashamed. Today I went to court and there was an ashtray in a courtroom. Where people go to explain to a judge why they were smoking indoors, there was someone who smoked indoors,” he said.
The press-release claimed that an unofficial “smoke-room” was created inside the parliament to accommodate parliament members who didn’t want to be inconvenienced.
The release also claimed that Perdikis reported that a foreign diplomat had complained to him, saying that in a recent visit to the parliament the place “reeked of smoke”.
In the internal memo, issued November 26, Omirou reminded parliamentarians that there was a law in place regarding smoking inside the building.
“I request that the law is respected by everyone in the House,” the memo said.