Spanish catering industry protests planned smoking ban

16th December 2009, Comments 6 comments

The government’s plan to ban smoking in enclosed public places such as bars and restaurants in 2010 may severely affect hotels and restaurants’ business, says industry.

Madrid – Spain's hotel and catering industry Tuesday protested a government plan to ban smoking in public places in 2010, warning that it could severely affect its business, already hit by the economic crisis.

"We are very concerned of the negative consequences" of this plan, said Jose Luis Guerra, deputy head of Spain's Hotel and Catering Association (FEHR).

"Our problem is that 40 percent of our customers link smoking with the consumption of products in hotels and restaurants," he told Spanish National Radio.

He predicted a fall of 10 percent in business if the ban is imposed.

Health Minister Trinidad Jimenez said Monday the government hopes to pass a law next year to ban smoking in enclosed public places such as bars and restaurants.

Spain already has an anti-smoking law in force since January 2006, less restrictive that in other European countries, which bans smoking in the workplace and on public transport but only partially in bars and restaurants.

"This comes at the worst moment for the catering industry in 15 years," said Guerra.

The Spanish economy, Europe's fifth biggest, remains mired in a recession that began in late 2008, with unemployment at around 19 percent.

AFP / Expatica

6 Comments To This Article

  • Franky posted:

    on 23rd March 2010, 08:47:44 - Reply

    Fact: All Bans are Not Created Equal.

    Nannies often point to California's ban to "prove" bans are good for business. According to state tax revenues, California's hospitably industry experienced a 5% increase in revenue the year after the ban was passed. Nannies ignore the fact the ban was imposed at the peak of the most successful economic period in our country's history, when most other states were reporting 10-15% increases in the same venues.

  • Bob posted:

    on 17th December 2009, 06:25:35 - Reply

    Ireland is considering subsidizing the conversion if its many closed pubs into teen clubs.
  • Cincinnati posted:

    on 17th December 2009, 05:59:34 - Reply

    Ed, why was that the cry in Atlanta? It just so happens that the vast majority of bars in Atlanta allow smoking. As a matter of fact, most restaurants do as well, so long as minors aren't permitted to enter. Anyway, the facts are these: smoking bans do cost bars business, as the massive pub closures in England and Ireland prove. Moreover, if smoking bans were good for business, then bar owners would have enough sense to voluntarily ban smoking in their own businesses. Why don't they just do that? And, why, when a smoking ban is revoked, as recently occured in most of Germany, and in Croatia, do the owners hurt their business putting the ashtrays right back for use, as they invariably do?

    Fact is, smoking bans are terrible for the bar industry, and publicans are not fools. If smoking bans benefited the industry, then the industry would favor and not oppose. They tend to support what is in their economic advantage and I'll trust their judgment over fanatics who just can't stand to be around the smoke and thus feel they have to dictate to people who have spend time, sweat, and money in trying to run a business as they see fit.

    As for this ban in Spain, I'll believe it when I see it. I'll be in Spain this summer and I am willing to bet right now that there's going to be a lot of smoking in a lot of pubs. For those that just can't stand it, my recommendation is to find a non-smoking pub. There are some out there, and they do need the business.
  • Ed Wolffe posted:

    on 16th December 2009, 14:32:11 - Reply

    Yes, "this will hurt business" is the most popular and frequent defense.
    It was the cry in New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, Paris, Rome, etc, etc, etc., But, then you read counter intuitive reports from restaurant owners stating that they actually had an increase in family business from non-smokers. In any event, The addiction to smoking is terrible and users will fight with every known excuse but in the end
    overall health issues will prevail as it has in so many other parts of the civilized world
  • Marc posted:

    on 16th December 2009, 11:54:03 - Reply

    Well said Laurel. Businesses will not suffer and anyone who thinks so is a fool (and needs to actually fact their facts). I lived through the smoking ban in San Francisco, and your right, biz did better at some bars after the ban.
    Jose Luis Guerra, deputy head of Spain's Hotel and Catering Association and the people who oppose should be angry at the bankers and corrupt politicians: They caused the "crisis" that we are all in now that has resulted in a REAL loss of business.
  • Laurel Avery posted:

    on 16th December 2009, 10:11:05 - Reply

    Hallelujah! It's about time Spain joined the civilised world. And all the moaning from the restaurant and hotel owners about how their businesses will be ruined is pure hogwash. If they look at the statistics, countries who have banned smoking in bars and restaurants have either seen no drop in business or have actually seen increases because people like myself who don't like coming home reeking of cigarette smoke will actually go out to bars and restaurants more often. I know that myself and my non-smoking friends plan to go out a lot more when this ban goes into effect.