Discover the world’s first smoke-free island
An island in Greece has become the world’s first smoke-free island after the local council decided to move towards a future without cigarettes.
Astypalea, also known as “the butterfly of the Aegean” due to its butterfly shape when seen from above, has successfully developed a culture where inhabitants and tourists are encouraged to cut smoking of their lives.
“This decision has a great symbolic meaning. We are going smoke-free because we want to give tourists and islanders clean water, clean air, clean beaches,” explained Astypalea’s mayor, Nikos Komineas.
But what does exactly smoke-free mean? Smoking indoors is prohibited, and also near the island’s iconic windmills.
Moreover, this information is visually present in as many locations as possible, ranging from billboards and informative panels in the airport, in the harbor, on the beaches and in the historic areas of the island.
Astypalea’s local council wants to bring back to life a Greek ancient concept: the agora, the public square where philosophers and commoners used to meet to think and talk. “We’d like to start a conversation with our residents, with tourists, with business owners, on what it means to go smoke-free, on what we can do to transform ourselves and the island,” mayor Komineas added.
Astypalea’s daring spirit is no novelty. It has been known for its brave actions in the past as well. In ancient times, it signed a bilateral agreement with Imperial Rome to protect one another’s interests. During World War II, a Greek destroyer helped sank a Nazi convoy off its coast.
The island has got the Smoke-Free certification from TÜV Austria, an independent certification body, in recognition of the island’s commitment to reduce smoking by implementing and permanently improving a set of actions that encourage people to quit smoking or to opt for alternative methods, like the IQOS devices.
Greece is one of the main travel destinations for Romanian tourists.