16 Dec, 2009 @ 11:20
1 min read

Spain to snuff out smoking

THE hotel and catering industry has protested against a government plan to ban smoking in public places next year.

It warns that it could severely affect 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 explained.

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

Health Minister Trinidad Jimenez said that 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.

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

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  1. It’s about time! Thankfully this EU presidency thing is forcing Spain to join the real world in some respects.

    Reading through some of the comments posted under stories on other news sites it’s incredible how many smokers (a minority, even in Spain) continue to believe their rights are being infringed by this, that it’s a loss of their civil liberty. It’s neither of those and nothing more than bad manners and selfishness on the part of smokers. Smokers are more than free to carry on smoking, in fact they can smoke two or more cigarettes at the same time if they want to, I don’t care, as long as they don’t foul the air for the rest of us with their noxious and frankly dangerous fumes.

  2. BOW

    That would lead to smoking apartheid. My smoking friends are quite happy to accept not smoking in Pubs in the UK. I’m sure it would eventually be welcomed in Spain.

    IMO this would be a very civilised move, which will help people to stop smoking.

  3. or maybe the governments should be more mature than this and force bars to have ‘smoking licences’. That way if a business decides to cater to the smoking client they can.
    So if there are smoking and non-smoking bars, we can finally treat people like adults and let them decide which bars/restaurants they wish to patronize

  4. So according to the FEHR, tourism is more important than health is it? Only a stupid Spanish spokesperson of low intelligence would say something like that. It’s what we’ve come to expect from a stupidly run country.

    Smoking is a habit and an addiction, and nothing more, so people will just have to change their habits. Smoking does nothing at all to help anyone or anything, so banning it outright is no problem to me. Ban it and/or tax it to death is what I say. The sooner the better. Can’t wait for replies telling me that I’m taking peoples freedoms away etc. What about the freedom to enjoy unpolluted air?

  5. There must be a balance between the rights of nonsmokers and those who do smoke. A law against hospitality snuff significantly harms, it must be done slowly to hurt less.

  6. Spain Hotels,

    Are you serious?

    How can you even think that anyone could possibly have a right to pollute the air with noxious carcinogenic smoke and then even suggest that right could somehow be “balanced” with the right to health and clean air? Are you crazy?

    Does cancer caused by tobacco smoke, especially someone else’s, not hurt? I think most thinking (and it’s obvious that you have not done much of that) people would agree that a ban will hurt a lot less than even one person suffering from cancer or emphysema…

  7. Unfortunately Spain is a country where the residents adopt the laws that they agree with. Living in northern Spain I can assure you that the law wont be enforced and it will be business as usual. Its not the smokers fault but the non smokers who dont find it socially unacceptable. Watching 2 year olds wandering around a smoke filled bar while the parents have no care for their health, says it all.

    The problem with Spain, is that traditions get in the way of progression, and that is for everything Spanish. I can only imagine what the country would be like if they applied themselves to move forward and not live in the Edad Media.

  8. You’ve got to laugh. The Spanish Hotels commentator didn’t mention that what will really kill Spain’s hospitality industry is in the the very word itself: “hospitality”.

    Spanish businesses have no concept of customer service and most businesses are a complete shambles. I regulary eat in 4 star restaurants when meeting clients, and the attitudes of staff to expats is truly awful. Plates of food banged down on tables, horrible glares from staff and non attentiveness to customers. Their service is a JOKE. I won’t name places, but last week I made a formal complaint and got the head waiter sacked disciplined by the manager on the spot. Make sure you complain, and shout and gesticulate like the Spanish do. You’ll get results then.

    It won’t be the ‘smoke free zone’ killing the industry, it will be the customer who is fed up with crap service and poor overpriced food.

    Spain needs to address the bigger picture also. It needs to be seen to be just and fair in all the things it does, and I specifically refer to the corruption issues. It also needs to be run bearing in mind we are in the 21st Century.

  9. If this comes into place it will be fantastic! I am sick of not being able to enjoy a meal because I am sat in a cloud of smoke from selfish smokers who only care about their enjoyment! I think that it will be very hard to police this, but if Spain does not catch up with the rest of Europe, it should not be able to enjoy the lucrative investment that it has been recieving from the EU. Any restaurant who is caught allowing smokers to continue smoking in their establishments should be heavily fined so that they think twice about continuing with their out of date attitudes. Anyway, unlike some other countries excercising this law at the moment, Spain benefits from better weather so smokers should not mind smoking outside, and in the winter months adequate space should be allocated outside for smokers…in Norway they even provide blankets for you to keep warm!!

  10. @ Bob

    I think people should be given the choice. I am a smoker, yet if my friends decide to go to a non-smoker bar, I am fine with the choice. But it should go both ways.

    What next? no heavy metal bars (for example) as loud music is bad for the ears?

  11. Perhaps it is a move in the right direction. Thankfully to a new product called a TC electronic cigarettes, there are still ‘options’ for customers and hotels who want to add an extra service, previously not available.

    I think they are great and have been using them for months……….and I haven’t smoked since!!

    Top fan,

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