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Greek Smoking Ban Went Into Effect Yesterday...But Will It Take?

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Economic woes aside, Greeks are about to get a lot more agitated as a new smoking ban goes into effect in a nation with the world's largest percentage of smokers -- an astounding 40%.

While Prime Minister Gus Papalopadopacropoulos, er, George Papandreou, is hopeful the new regulations will make "the country more viable, not only economically but in daily life," others aren't so quick to agree.

Media reports point out that many restaurateurs are betting against the crackdown's effectiveness, noting that "the municipal staff and police officers called to enforce the regulations are heavy smokers themselves."

"We will soon see the law ridiculed in coffee shops with policemen smoking side by side with customers," said senior restaurant association member George Kavathas.

Athens cafe owner Nikos Louvros said, "All my customers smoke. That's what unites them. That's why they come here." (Which may says something about the food, but that's another story altogether...)

If early indications are a sign of what is yet to come, enforcement may be something of an issue.

As Anthee Carassava over at Aol News pointed out, Greek politicians crafting the rules offered a peek into how ingrained tobacco is in Greece's culture:

During debates over the new rules, the legislators insisted on smoking.
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