No Greek tobacco ads for Olympics

With one of the heaviest smoking populations in the world, Greece has banned outdoor tobacco advertising for a five-month period that will take in the 2004 Olympics.

    Tobacco companies did not publicly oppose the ban

    "Outdoor advertising for tobacco products will be banned between 1 June and 1 November  2004," Deputy Health Minister Ektor Nasiokas said on Wednesday shortly after parliament passed a law to that effect. 

    The 2004 Athens Olympics will be staged in August. "The measure will apply throughout Greece," Nasiokas said, adding that kiosks, a familiar part of Greece's urban landscape which advertise tobacco products on their awnings, are exempt from the decision. 

    Greek tobacco companies did not publicly oppose the law. "It is a temporary measure, just for the Olympics. We just wish it would apply for a shorter period," Spyros Fregas, head of Greece's Tobacco Industries Association, told AFP. 

    During the parliamentary debate, Health Minister Costas Stefanis expressed his hope that MPs would ratify a World Health Organisation convention banning all kinds of tobacco advertising from 1 July 2005.



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