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Switching to the Euro: still hard to swallow
  1. F C Papadopoulos1,
  2. E Petridou1,
  3. C E Frangakis2,
  4. T Farmakakis1,
  5. H Moller3,
  6. G Rider4
  1. 1Athens University Medical School, Athens, Greece
  2. 2Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
  3. 3National Institute of Public Health, Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. 4RAM Consulting, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
    Prof. E Petridou
    Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Athens University, Medical School, 75 M. Asias Str., Goudi, PO Box 11527, Athens, Greece;

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Injuries from ingestion (choking) of coins are common among children, with non-negligible morbidity,1 but indications that smaller coins increase the risk of choking are mostly anecdotal. We evaluated this risk using a natural experiment in Greece with the introduction of the Euro in place of previously used larger coins.


Data on inhalation and ingestion events (choking) were collected from a European Union injury monitoring process. A network of three representative hospitals was used for data from Greece, which shifted to the Euro system in 2002. For comparison, we also used similar data from a network of five representative hospitals from Denmark, which has not shifted to the Euro system. Details of these networks are described elsewhere.2 Possible unrepresentativeness cannot affect validity of the reported results, since these refer to the same dynamically evolving populations. For each ingestion or inhalation incident, data were obtained by specially trained interviewers interacting with the children, their guardians, and the attending health professionals. General physical characteristics for the coins were retrieved from the European …

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