Spain - ban smoking public places - a lot of talk no action..

August 12, 2009 - The Ministry of Health is expanding the first Anti-Smoking Act to prohibit smoking in all public places including bars and entertainment venues, announced Trinidad Jimenez. "We are prepared to consider extending the terms, for implementing the law," said the minister. On June 18, Congress urged the Government to toughen the Anti-Smoking Act, "and to progress in the expansion of smoke-free spaces in a progressive manner."

Spain's anti-smoking law has no effect by h.b.,, 2/19/2009: The anti-tobacco law was launched in Spain in January 2006, but the numbers in February 2009 show that over the past three years it has had no effect in the number of adult smokers. When it was introduced 24.2% of the population of Spain smoked, now the number is 24.1% The National Committee for the Prevention of Tobacco Addiction, CNPT, say that the guard has been dropped and more permissive laws introduced in some of Spain’s regions have not helped. They say inspection services are inadequate, especially in the workplace, where despite the ban on smoking some 30% of the working population say they are still exposed to smoke. They also accuse the Ministry for Health for failing to keep the subject on the agenda, and not that in large cities more than 90% of restaurants still allow smoking, and often in small towns it is common for all restaurants to allow smoking.
Jimenez explained that the Act is in its "assessment phase" to see what degree of success it has in in its implementation, and added that following its assessment it will be proposed to extend smoke free areas.

The minister has acknowledged that the law against tobacco has proved "very beneficial in its time", since its inception, it has encouraged over more than one million people to give up the habit. Jimenez stressed that "the ban on smoking in public spaces has been extended to virtually all European countries" including places, like Turkey, which have "a tradition of high tobacco consumption."

The reasons he has cited to expand smoke-free environments are that smoking is a public health problem "and that it is also necessary to ensure" the smooth functioning and the rational use of health services. People who smoke use more health services and consume more drugs, which increases the cost of the health service" he asserted.

In his view, a "clear message" has to sent to people about this problem and "our society is ever more ready to receive that message: the seriousness of the use of tobacco."

Jimenez has indicated that "very soon" new symbols will be incorporated onto packets of tobacco to discourage the habit, which, predictably, include destroyed lungs, tumors or rotten teeth.

Reference: Ministry of Health is to ban smoking in all public places in Spain,, 8/8/2009.