After a one-day amnesty granted for New Year’s Day, Spain will introduce tough anti-smoking legislation ( Ley 28/2005), finally bringing the country into line with other European countries.
[Image credit: (cc) Raul Leiberwirth]
There has been some restriction on smoking in Spain for the past five years but the impact was barely noticeable. Smoking was banned in the workplace, on public transport and in shops. Restaurants and bars over 100 square metres were allowed to retain smoking on the premises in certain areas as long as they had specially sealed, ventilated areas for smokers. Owners of smaller establishments were permitted to opt in or out as they wished. Most, faced with a drop in business, naturally chose to permit their customers to continue lighting up.
The new laws will ban smoking in bars, restaurants, casinos, nightclubs and public transport facilities including airports.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Spanish government has opted for even stricter legislation in some areas than the rest of the European Union, banning smoking outside schools and hospitals, as well as in children’s outdoor playgrounds.
Some exceptions are permitted including hotels, who are allowed to set aside up to 30% of their rooms for smokers. Also, smoking can continue in mental hospitals, prisons, old people’s homes and rehabilitation centres for disabled people provided that special zones are created for smokers outside of the buildings, or special rooms are made available inside which must be clearly signed and independently ventilated.
Will you be breathing a sigh of relief at Spain’s smoking ban or will you change your plans to visit as a result?