A new law which prohibits smoking in public areas has hit Spain on January 2
This is a heads up to all smokers that are planning their Barcelona holiday in the near future: the Spanish government has tightened measures in order to ban public smoking next year. Following the example of other EU countries, the Spanish Ministry for Health have changed the legislation established in 2005 on the 2nd of January 2011. Article 8 of the paper, which gave bars and public places the choice to allow smokers has been removed.
As Barcelona was considered one of the last urban paradises for smokers, the new law might affect large parts of the city’s lifestyle too. The non-smoking law in Spain dictates that smoking is going to be banned in enclosed spaces, parks, hospital doorways, schools and public places such as bars, restaurants, clubs, airports and train stations. Catalonia’s capital usually attracts tourists taking advantage of the low cigarette prices and enjoying liberal sociable smoking during their holidays. It’s been already prohibited to smoke at public work places, in trains or train stations for a while.
Smoking will still be permitted in bar terraces, on the condition that they do not have more than two walls. Smoking will also be permitted in smoking clubs; however, these clubs must have a registered headquarters formed by members and created exclusively for the consumption of tobacco.
So, on 2 January 2011 the Spanish Ministry of Health has finalised the new non-smoking law following an agreement across all parties of the congress. This two step approach to cut down smoking in the country should support a smooth transition from a smoking to a complete non-smoking culture in public. Now that the first steps for public areas and businesses have taken place already, people need to get used to the new non-smoking law.
Aside from the unhappy reaction from smokers, the owners of bars and restaurants heavily protested against a new non-smoking law for Spain. There are some anti-tobacco organisations which stand against the Spanish restaurant and bar trade. They are hard-liners and are pro a total non-smoking law.
So, if you are a passionate smoker, bear in mind the new law before you start your Barcelona holiday. Good news for all non-smokers – finally no stinky clothes and hair after a long night out anymore! No annoying smokers sitting next to your table in the restaurant and no bad air consisting of more smoke than oxygen anymore! When it comes to smoking Barcelona has been a smokers’ paradise for the last couple of years, but for non-smokers it felt still like a city back in the 90’s. However, this is about to change…
What do you think about the smoking ban? Will the benefits outweigh the costs? Leave a comment to discuss your opinions.