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Greece – Health Issues

Greece, a country located in southeastern Europe, is known for its rich history, beautiful landscapes, and Mediterranean cuisine. However, like many other countries, Greece also faces various health issues that affect its population. In this article, we will explore some of the common health issues in Greece, as well as the prevalence of smoking and related legislation.

Common Health Issues


Obesity is a major health issue in Greece. According to a 2021 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Greece has the highest rate of obesity among adults in the European Union (EU), with over 31% of adults classified as obese. The report also highlights that the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children in Greece is above the EU average.

The high prevalence of obesity in Greece can be attributed to a number of factors, including unhealthy diets, sedentary lifestyles, and lack of physical activity.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death in Greece. According to the Hellenic Statistical Authority, CVD accounted for almost 43% of all deaths in Greece in 2020.

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Risk factors for CVD include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, and physical inactivity. In addition, stress and a diet high in saturated and trans fats can also contribute to the development of CVD.


Cancer is another major health issue in Greece. The most common types of cancer in Greece are breast, prostate, and lung cancer. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, Greece has one of the highest rates of breast cancer in Europe.

Risk factors for cancer include tobacco use, alcohol consumption, unhealthy diets, and lack of physical activity. In addition, exposure to environmental factors such as air pollution and radiation can also increase the risk of cancer.

Smoking in Greece

Smoking is a major public health issue in Greece, with high rates of tobacco use among both adults and youth. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 36% of adults in Greece smoke, and the prevalence of smoking among youth aged 13-15 is around 22%.

Attitudes towards Smoking

Despite the high prevalence of smoking in Greece, attitudes towards tobacco use are changing. In recent years, there has been an increase in public awareness campaigns and tobacco control policies aimed at reducing smoking rates.

Many Greeks also support tobacco control measures. According to a 2018 survey by the European Commission, over 80% of Greeks support smoke-free public places, and around 70% support graphic warnings on cigarette packages.


In recent years, Greece has implemented several tobacco control policies aimed at reducing smoking rates. These include:

  • Smoke-free laws: In 2010, Greece passed a smoke-free law that prohibits smoking in all enclosed public places, including bars, restaurants, and workplaces.
  • Advertising and promotion restrictions: Greece prohibits all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship.
  • Health warnings: Cigarette packages in Greece are required to display graphic health warnings that cover at least 65% of the package.
  • Tobacco taxation: Greece has implemented several tax increases on tobacco products in recent years.

However, despite these policies, smoking rates in Greece remain high. There is still room for improvement in enforcing smoke-free laws and increasing tobacco taxation to further reduce tobacco use in Greece.

In conclusion, Greece faces several common health issues, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Smoking rates in Greece are also high, with significant public health and economic consequences. While the country has implemented tobacco control policies in recent years, more needs to be done to reduce smoking rates and improve public health. Through continued efforts in public awareness campaigns, tobacco control policies, and other general health measures.