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The Greek Hovel August 2020 Day 6 – a few thoughts on smoking, bans and health benefits

Tom Winnifrith
Sunday 16 August 2020

You might just remember that at the time of the last olive harvest, the great Greek smoking ban, driven by the EU, came into play. Reactions were mixed. In Miranda’s, there was a robust defiance and the air was full of nicotine, even when the Old Bill arrived to “nobble” my friend Vangelis. In the Kourounis taverna, Eleni was strict and ashtrays were allowed only outside.

Of course, a lot has changed. Who cares about cancer when there is Covid? There is no actual covid here in Kambos or anywhere near but Project Fear is doing its bit. Perhaps the reason there is no Covid in Kambos is that so many folks are smokers and many of the rest are ex-smokers. The evidence is that gaspers, or we ex gaspers, are far less likely to catch the new plague and far less likely to die if we do catch it. Shout it loudly to any health fascist you meet: smoking can be good for you!

I mention this because, wandering into the Kourounis, I cannot help but notice that ashtrays are out and folks are using them. Okay, most folks sit outside in the summer but if you want a fag inside, there seems to be no objection.

Maybe it is market forces and the new competition that has prompted this relaxation, or maybe it is a recognition that these nicotine trails will bring great health benefits to staff and customers alike in warding off the great plague. Or maybe it is just a reassertion of the traditional Mani spirit of telling outsiders, be they Turks or petty EU/Greek officials, to bugger off and leave us alone.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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