LONG-TERM plans to restrict smoking in public places are being dusted down once again from the Ministry of Health’s shelves.
Some of Spain’s regions got a taste of bar and restaurant terrace smoking bans during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the Balearic Islands and the Valencian Community only ending them last summer.
There are now suggestions that the Ministry of Health’s ‘Comprehensive Plan for the Prevention and Control of Smoking 2021-2025’ may see the light of day soon with tough restrictions set to return.
The exact details have been speculated on for years including a terrace ban and whether this would be extended to private cars and beaches.
Beaches around Spain are gradually being designated as ‘smoke-free’ in measures introduced by individual municipalities.
Reports say that the ministry would ‘look at each of the scenarios’ to expand smoke-free zones and to ensure tobacco is not a part of the daily life of future generations.
Spain’s tobacco prices are amongst the cheapest in Western Europe, so a higher pricing strategy may also come into play.
It’s widely believed the ministry strategy will include regulations over vaping- something that is especially popular among younger people.
The Health Ministry is already looking at other countries such as France or the United Kingdom, which are implementing measures to limit or even ban the use of vapes- especially disposable ones, as well looking at increasing the age from which people can start smoking.
The intention of the ministry is to extend tobacco-related bans ‘as soon as possible’ but that it could mean anything- especially as tough pro-tobacco lobbies are likely to exert pressure against anything they regard as draconian.
There’s also the not-so small matter of getting legislation passed through Congress which only has a small majority backing the Pedro Sanchez government.