"No Está Permitido Fumar" in Spain
Spain began the New Year with the introduction of smoking ban in all enclosed public spaces such as bars, cafes, restaurants and nightclubs – as well as some outdoor spaces such as children’s parks, schools and hospital grounds. This is good news for residents and visitors who do not smoke.
But, have Spanish smokers really taken their last puff on January 2, 2011 when the new law took effect? Lighting up is very much a part of the Spanish way of life when enjoying a drink in a taverna or tapas bar. Die-hard smokers and bar owners concerned about the drop in business are not happy and believe that the new law will not work as the authorities do not have the monitoring capacity to enforce the smoking ban.
However, those who choose to ignore the new no smoking law do it at the risk of being reported by customers. It is a legal requirement for all public places to have a complaints book and to have a sign on the wall to advertise this. Apparently these complaints forms carry some weight in Spain. If a customer reports the business to the authorities, and it’s not just in regard to smoking, the penalties are heavy, if found guilty, so businesses do take them seriously.