Catalonia to ban smoking in all bars, restaurants

31st May 2005, Comments 0 comments

31 May 2005, MADRID — As anti-tobacco campaigners marked World Anti-Smoking Day, Catalonia said it is planning to adopt even stricter measures to curtail smoking than those due to be enacted in a nationwide law on tobacco consumption.

31 May 2005

MADRID — As anti-tobacco campaigners marked World Anti-Smoking Day, Catalonia said it is planning to adopt even stricter measures to curtail smoking than those due to be enacted in a nationwide law on tobacco consumption.

The Catalan regional government, in north-east Spain, is to ban smoking in bars and restaurants, in the same tough stance as Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway.

Spain is set to introduce an anti-smoking law nationwide from January next year.

It will force owners of  bars and restaurants larger than 100 square metres to have air conditioning and non-smoking areas in at least 70 percent of the area.

Lighting up in the workplace will also be prohibited. Selling cigarettes to those under 16 will be punishable with fines.

The regional government of Catalonia, or Generalitat, said it would offer all bars and restaurants a "period of transition" of two or three years to make the changes.

During this period all establishments will have to ban smoking.

Antoni Plasencia, Generalitat director general of public health, said it was logical to protect the two thirds of the population who do not smoke and "who would see their right to eat or have a coffee respected in a bar without smoke". 

The move follows similar attempts to cut smoking elsewhere in Europe.

France attempted to curb smoking levels by raising the price of cigarettes by 20 percent in October 2003.

Despite the price hike, no noticeable difference in smoking levels in Paris' traditionally smoke-filled cafes and bars.

Ireland imposed tough anti-smoking legislation in March 2004, banning smoking in pubs, restaurants and other enclosed workplaces.

Despite fears the ban would be widely flouted, most smokers in pubs adopted a pragmatic view and popped outside to the street or beer garden for a puff between pints.

Italy imposed a ban on smoking in all enclosed public places including bars and restaurants from midnight on 10 January.

The ban has not been welcomed by all, with some bar owners and smokers saying they will ignore the ban on the grounds that cigarettes and smoking are an integral part of Italian bar and cafe culture.

Tobacconists reported a 20 percent fall in cigarette sales in the weeks immediately after the ban came into force.

In Holland a crackdown on smoking from January 2004 saw cigarettes banned from many public places including railway stations, trains, toilets and offices.

With 30 percent of the 16 million population smoking, the government wants to reduce the total by 5 percent over the next three years.

The UK has resisted calls to ban smoking in the workplace, instead preferring a voluntary approach from employers, the government has shifted its position.

But it now favours a ban for almost all enclosed public areas including offices, factories, cafes, restaurants and most pubs in England within a few years.

Scotland plans to have a comprehensive ban on smoking in public places in force by the spring of 2006.

About 30 percent of adults under the age of 65 smoke in the UK, according to recent research conducted by Imperial College in London.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news


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