THE new public smoking ban has met fierce resistance, as one politician compared the victimisation of smokers as being akin to the Holocaust.
Mayor Francisco Leon de la Riva insisted that encouraging people to report on those breaking the ban was how ‘terrible things in the history of mankind have always begun”.
The leader of Valladolid council continued: “It invites people to report one another… First they started with the Jews, now here we are reporting smokers.”
It came as over 1000 complaints were made about those breaking the ban in the first two days since it was introduced on January 2.
In total the country has employed thousands of inspectors, with 900 alone in Andalucia.
In particular, there has also been widespread hostility to the ban in parks and outside hospitals.
One patient in the Basque Country was arrested when he threatened a nurse who reminded him of the new law.
A man from Extremadura meanwhile assaulted four men when he was told to put his cigarette out by the bar owner, who was then attacked receiving 16 stitches in his head.
Two other clients ended up with arm injuries and another with a black eye following the violent outburst.
Finally, a Marbella restaurant has defied the smoking ban and is telling clients they can smoke inside their establishment.
Asador Guadalina has put a sign up saying ‘As a private business, we will uphold what we believe is our right, and not apply this law within our establishment’, which has been applauded by some.
The ban came into force on January 2 when Spain finally joined the rest of western Europe in banning smoking in bars and restaurants.
But the new law is particularly strict and extends to parks and outside health centres.
It’s in sharp contrast to the half-hearted attempt at stamping out smoking in public places back in 2006 which offered so many loopholes nothing changed.