8 Apr, 2024 @ 16:00
1 min read

Crackdown on smoking and vaping in Spain: These are the new measures being taken by the government

Anti-smoking association in Spain calls for ban on tobacco sales in bars, restaurants and petrol stations
Cordon Press image

SPAIN has started the process to introduce its new anti-smoking plan by announcing a public consultation on Monday over instigating plain cigarette packets and banning vape flavourings.

The 2024-2027 plan was agreed by the Health Ministry and the country’s 17 regions on Friday.

The Ministry has put out for consultation the launch of ‘neutral’ tobacco packets- already implemented in countries like the UK- and ending the sale of flavoured vapes.

Those two changes would eventually result in a Royal Decree approved by the Council of Ministers.

Flavoured vapes are viewed by health experts as being a hook for teenagers and younger people to try traditional tobacco products.

The proposed changes are in line with the Smoking Control plan to ‘prevent the initiation of consumption of tobacco and related products’.

Health Minister, Monica Garcia, said that tobacco tax levels will be discussed with the Finance Ministry to ‘bring us closer to countries around us’.

The plan also envisages outdoor ‘smoke-free’ spaces but details of that have still to be ironed out including whether or not that means a total ban for hospitality terraces.

MINISTER GARCIA(La Moncloa image)

Garcia said: “The sector is in good health and the ominous forecasts that spoke of widespread ruin because people were going to stop going to bars because they could not smoke indoors never happened”.

“There is no economic impact because there was no impact with previous measures either,” she added.

“I don’t think people will stop going to terraces, beaches or universities because there is a measure that protects against second-hand smoke but we will help the regions to implement it with all of the guarantees,” said Garcia.

She promised there will be a public consultation ahead of any stage of legislation, like in the case of packaging and vape flavours, where people from all sides of the argument will be able to contribute.

Though all of the regions backed the plan, its expected that some will take a more ‘looser’ view on some of the proposals- especially over hospitality terrace smoking.

In December, Madrid’s mayor, Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida branded a terrace ban as ‘crazy’ while a Mallorca restaurant owner has said that a ban would spark ‘fights’ between customers and waiting staff.

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Alex Trelinski

Alex worked for 30 years for the BBC as a presenter, producer and manager. He covered a variety of areas specialising in sport, news and politics. After moving to the Costa Blanca over a decade ago, he edited a newspaper for 5 years and worked on local radio.

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