Advertising of tobacco products has been gradually prohibited in Greece, in conformity with EU Directives and the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).
Initially (in 1992) only tobacco advertising and sponsorship on TV was forbidden, in 2005 this ban was extended to cover press and other printed publications, radio broadcasting and the internet.
As a result, the main marketing tool of the tobacco industry became direct marketing of cigarettes in cafés and clubs, where packs of new flavours or products were distributed to smokers for free. The recent Law 3730/2008 (issued on 23/12/2008) banned this kind of direct promotion and also forbade advertising and selling of tobacco products in schools, universities and hospitals.
Additionally, a brand-new Ministerial Decision (issued on June 30th 2009) prohibits all forms of billboard advertising with effect from 1st September 2009. The same Ministerial Decision clarifies that tobacco advertising shall be permitted only inside of tobacco stores.
The existing and upcoming prohibitions on tobacco advertising, combined with a complete ban on smoking itself in most public places effective on July 1st 2009 – are expected to decrease smoking rates, in a nation where nearly 45% of the adult population smokes.
Mr. Asterios Syssilas