SPANISH efforts to stub out smoking have backfired.

A ban on smoking inside in bars, restaurants and offices has led to an increase, not decrease in the numbers of smokers, new figures have revealed.

The number of Spanish smokers between the ages of 15 and 64 has actually risen from 33% in 2005, when the ban came in, to 34% today.

The rise in the number of smokers may be partly explained by an increase in the number of women and young people using tobacco.

Rodrigo Cordoba, the former president of the National Committee for Tobacco Prevention, said the government should address the increase urgently.

“Nothing has been done in recent years. In the fight against tobacco you have to continue to introduce measures. It’s like riding a bike. If you stop pedalling, you fall over,” he said.

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