Council of State annuls law allowing smoking in casinos, entertainment venues

The Council of State ruled that smoking is prohibited in casinos and in entertainment venues exceeding 300 square metres and annulled Law 3868/2010, in a decision made known on Wednesday.

Law 3868, following a 2011 ministerial decision, had prohibited smoking in stores and health areas, but exempted casinos and large entertainment venues with music as long as they created closed or covered spaces for smokers of a maximum of half the surface of the total venue, and paid an annual fee of 200 euros per square metre of the smoking section.

The Council based its decision on the fact that since 2003 Greece is obliged by international treaty (World Health Organisation) to restrict smoking. The treaty was ratified by Law 420/2005, the Council said, and trumps any conflicting domestic law. Although the larger the space, the greater the revenue for the state, the less the purpose of reducing smoking is served, the judges said, striking Law 3868 down.

The Council ruled after a complaint filed by nonprofit “Minyma Zois” (Message of Life) and three individuals, who reapplied for a repeat ruling, as the ministers of Finance and Health signed a new decision in January 2019, replacing the 2011 one with the same content.

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