Cyprus Mail
Cyprus Health

Fresh anti-smoking campaign launched

Cyprus has the highest exposure to second hand smoke in the workplace across the EU, raking up 55 per cent, Health Minister Giorgos Pamborides said on Monday in light of World No Tobacco Day celebrated on May 31.
Citing Eurobarometer figures, he said that 14 per cent of the time the exposure to cigarette smoke lasts from one to five hours.
Speaking during a press conference announcing a national campaign against smoking set to begin in June, Pamborides said more than 31 per cent of Cyprus’ population are smokers – among the highest in Europe.
Last year, police reported close to 8,000 cases of smoking in places where it was not permitted, out of some 35,000 inspections across Cyprus.
According to deputy police operations officer, Lambros Themistokelous, more inspections will follow in June when the campaign is in motion.
The aim is not to report people but to instill an anti-smoking education, he said.
“These figures highlight the importance of this year’s campaign and a circular has been sent to state buildings with recommendations to ensure the law on smokeless buildings are kept,” Pamborides told reporters.
This year, a new helpline for those who want to quit smoking – 1431 – was set up for smokers who want to quit can find out about free programmes in their area.
The number will also be available on cigarette packs by the end of the year.
In 2015, there was a 45 per cent success rate of people that used a programme to stop the habit. Specifically, 276 applied, 208 were accepted and 93 successfully completed the programme, the minister added.
Cyprus Respiratory Society secretary general Alexis Papadopoulos said Cyprus’ 31.9 per cent of smokers – out of a 10,000 people survey – places the island above the EU average of 28 per cent.
Cyprus ranks lower than Greece, which holds top place at 40 per cent, but higher than northern European countries like Sweden with 16 per cent.
According to secondary education chief Kyprianos Louis, the number of students smoking decreased in 2015. He said a circular had been recently issued that said not only students but teachers too should contribute to a smoke free school.
Deputies in parliament have often accused their colleagues of violating the smoking ban and smoking indoors. The most notorious case that hit the headlines was that of DISY’s Andreas Kyprianou who was caught by AKEL’s Irene Charalambidou lighting up inside parliament last year.

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