Spain's Basque region moves to ban smoking in cars
The government of Spain's northern Basque region said Wednesday it had approved a stringent anti-smoking law which will make it illegal to light up inside a car if a minor is present.
Under the draft law, which now must be approved by the regional Basque parliament, adults will also be banned from smoking in places like playgrounds and school yards that are destined for use by children.
In addition, the law bans smoking in all bars, restaurants and other public enclosed places as well as in open spaces like cafe terraces "that do not allow for strong air currents".
The draft law goes much further than the anti-smoking legislation in place at the national level in Spain since 2006, which bans smoking in the workplace and on public transport but only partially in bars and restaurants.
The Spanish government has said it plans to amend its anti-smoking law, which is less restrictive than in other European nations, to extend the ban on lighting up to all enclosed spaces but is still working on the new rules.
The three-province Basque region, where a significant minority would like to establish a homeland independent from Spain, has extensive home-rule powers, including a regional police force as well as control over education, health care and tax collection.
It is home to about two million people out of Spain's total population of around 47 million.
© 2010 AFP