A DEBATE has emerged around banning smoking to help fight COVID-19 after Galicia ordered its residents to kick the habit – at least in public spaces.

The region has ruled that if a safe distance of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained, lighting up on the street or in public areas, such as terraces, is to be prohibited.

Health leaders in the northern autonomous community believe droplets containing the virus can be carried via the smoke being exhaled.

Valencia is now reportedly considering in implementing similar measures.

But other regions remain less convinced, particularly Andalucia, which demanded more scientific evidence yesterday.

Health minister for the southernmost region Jesus Aguirre said in a press conference that he has requested a study to ‘see if there is enough evidence’ to justify bringing in a ban.

“We have asked out experts to prepare a study to see if there is scientific evidence that such a measure (smoking ban) can be effective against coronavirus,” Aguirre said.

“We cannot take such a measure when we do not have scientific evidence that it works.”

It means there are no plans to prohibit smoking on the streets of Andalucia any time soon.

Once the study is completed, the health ministry will evaluate the idea based on the findings, explained Aguirre.

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