MADRID’S mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, has branded proposals to ban smoking on bar and restaurant terraces as ‘crazy’.
His comments came on Tuesday- a day after the Health Minister, Monica Garcia, said she planned to revive moth-balled plans to restrict smoking on terraces, beaches, and cars as well as regulating the sale of vapes across the country.
Marinez-Almeida- from the Partido Popular- opposed the measure, as he took questions from journalists during a business forum with representatives of the Valencian Community at the Casino de Madrid.
“It seems to me that, of course, from a health point of view, smoking is not the most recommended activity,” the mayor acknowledged.
“But prohibiting outdoor smoking, well it seems crazy to me and it will end up possibly introducing a ban in private spaces,” he added.
“What Monica Garcia should be doing is to solve Spain’s main problem which is a shortage of primary care doctors.”
In July, the Valencian Community restored smoking on terraces, which was introduced as a Covid-19 pandemic measure.
Two months later, Catalunya halted a planned terrace ban after strong resistance from restaurateurs.
On January 2, 2011, public entertainment venues including bars and restaurants became smoke-free across Spain after the measure was passed unanimously in Congress.
The Partido Popular- in opposition at the time- however, introduced an amendment months earlier proposing designated smoking areas in all bars, which was voted down.
Months later, and just before the PP’s Mariano Rajoy became prime minister, he suggested a modification in smoking rules, but nothing happened when he took power.
The number of deaths attributable to tobacco in Spain is close to 63,000 deaths per year- 21% of them in people under 65, according to figures from the Spanish Society of Epidemiology.
The PP’s last election manifesto in July only referred to anti-smoking measures to combat ‘addictions in childhood and adolescence’.