The total number of smoking enthusiasts in Greece is apparently amongst the highest in the world. It needs to be noted that smoking enthusiasts in Greece are over the 40% mark. This is indeed a shocking figure when compared to the world average of 20%.  The world smoking rate can be categorized under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which in turn happens to be a whooping 20%. Hence, when you compare the total number of smokers in Greece, you shall be surprised to find that over 40 in every 100 individuals in Greece, are known to smoke cigarettes.

In the past 10 years, the total number of smokers in Greece has also grown at a rapid pace. Even in a country like the United States, the total number of smokers is half the percentage of smokers in Greece. What is rather alarming is the fact that in a developed country like Greece, even medical students are known to smoke cigarettes on a regular basis. In fact, in Greece, over 30% of all medical students are known to be smoking cigarettes regularly. This fact was revealed after a study was conducted by Constantine Vardavas and his fellow researcher Anthony Kafatos, who happened to be an associated with University of Crete.

In the past decade, it was noticed that the total number of smoking enthusiasts falling under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, declined by 18%, whereas, the total number of smokers in Greece rose by over 10%. As per the reports published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in Greece, over 48% individuals per one hundred thousand males are known to die from lung cancer. Interestingly, the same rate in Britain is lower by 33%.  Even in the United States as well as France, the lung cancer death rate is 20% lower than the lung cancer death rate in Greece.

The main reason why the total number of smokers rose in Greece was because the overall price of a cigarette pack was lower. On the contrary, most other countries had imposed heavy taxes on cigarettes, which in turn had hiked the prices of regular cigarettes even further. Nonetheless, in 2010, Greece raised the taxes on cigarettes by 20%, which in turn raised the prices of cigarettes by 15%. According to Jonathan Gruber, who happens to be an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the rise in prices of cigarettes in Greece may reduce the total percentage of smokers by a meager 7%.  Harvard University’s Center for Global Tobacco Control, has already stated that the percentage of smokers in Greece has started to show a steady decline, ever since the taxes on cigarettes was increased by the government.

As the total number of smokers in Greece reduces, the chances are that the money which was earlier being spent by the government in healthcare expenditure pertaining to cigarette smoking related ailments can now be diverted to other important health care needs. It has also been suggested by leading healthcare professionals that by promoting electronic cigarettes, the percentage of regular cigarette smokers can be drastically reduced. In fact, an e cigarette is often seen as a medium to deter chain smokers from continuing with their habit. As an e cig is devoid of tobacco as well as the highly offensive second hand smoke. Hence, an electric cigarette it is often considered as a suitable alternative to traditional cigarettes.