Saturday, January 01, 2011
A New Era
About five years ago a no smoking law was passed in Spain which made it illegal to smoke at work but gave public spaces, like bars, the option of being either smoking or non smoking within certain limits to do with the size of the space. It was all a bit of a mish mash and, basically, it meant that the vast majority of bars and restaurants remained smoky. Lots that tried to go no smoking saw their trade collapse and quickly went back to ashtrays on the bar and fag ends on the floor.
The new law is much more straightforward and says that nearly all enclosed public spaces will have to be smoke free. The terraces of bars continue to be smoker's havens but even there the definition of when a space is enclosed is quite strict and some of the more weatherproof terraces will be non smoking.
I know it's happened all over the World but Spain and smoky bars just seem to go together. It will be interesting to see whether there is any sort of revolt. We've certainly been in lots of bars that have no smoking signs all over the place but where the clientele have taken no notice at all. Years ago when Corte Inglés first went non smoking they had to use signs which said something like "No lighted cigarettes, pipes or cigars in this store" because so many smokers were arguing that they weren't smoking just carrying a fag or that the sign showed a cigarette and not a pipe etc.