Athens, 11 July 2019.- The Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies (SFEE) welcomes the commitment of the Prime Minister and of the political leadership of the Ministry of Health to enforce the anti-smoking law immediately and universally. The Association and its member companies express their unwavering support for the universal ban on smoking in all public closed spaces without exception, as well as for other similar initiatives of the Ministry of Health aimed at disease prevention and improvement of public health. The promotion of public health is a central objective of the Association, which has declared its offices a smoke-free environment since 2008.
Despite the progress that has been made so far, a high proportion of Greeks, the highest in Europe, are still regular smokers and many die from smoking-related diseases (cancer, cardiovascular diseases, etc.). Well-documented studies over the last two decades have demonstrated the devastating effects on both active and passive smokers. According to data from the World Health Organization, 9,964 new cases of lung cancer (7,862 males and 2,102 females) and more than 8,300 cases of other cancers associated with smoking (oesophageal, stomach and oral cavity cancers) were reported in Greece for 2018. A survey published in JAMA* suggests that almost half (48.5%) of deaths from 12 different types of cancer are attributable to cigarette smoking. This is not only a human tragedy, but also an important healthcare and socio-economic issue, as it puts an additional burden on public healthcare systems and deprives Greece of a workforce that is essential to raising competitiveness. Against this background, the ban on smoking in public places was a much needed decision and it is high time it were implemented.
On this occasion, SFEE President Mr. Olympios Papadimitriou noted: “Focus on prevention as a solid basis for both individual and public health is a key component of any modern and comprehensive healthcare policy in today’s Europe. We place particular emphasis on the smoking ban, which we consider to be a big step towards fostering a prevention culture in our country. Besides, this is a prerequisite for the promotion of public health, for which SFEE constantly strives with its positions, initiatives and vision”.
* The Journal of the American Medical Association, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2301375?resultClick=1)