In 2005, Spain’s controversial Anti-Smoking Laws allowed establishments to decide if they wanted to ban smoking completely or not. More than 90% continued to allow smoking as if nothing had ever happened while others, especially restaurants and nightclubs constructed glassed areas, to allow smoking in an enclosed space. Health Minister, Trinidad Jimenez, has explained on several occasions that the new ‘text’ is currently under study but that preliminary indications suggest that the Government will not offer compensation to anyone for any investment to provide smoking zones for their clientele.
That is all set to change because on June 22nd Spain’s anti-smoking laws are expected to change, according to articles in the Spanish Press and TV.
This action from the Ministry of Health is designed to bring Spain into line with many other European Countries and ban smoking in public areas. The government aims to eliminate all those areas where smoking is allowed at present. This means that there will be no longer be any special areas reserved for smokers and that all bars, restaurants, hotels (which can now have up to 30% of rooms reserved for smokers), nightclubs, gaming establishments, casinos plus the designated zones in airports, bus stations, trains, shipping terminals and anywhere else presently permitted, will now have to close down these areas due to changes in the enforcement of the law. Congress still must approve this but it looks like that will have the approval of all parties.
The irony on the Costa Blanca is that traditional midsummer’s night parties in honour of San Juan (St. John the Baptist) take place on the evening of June 23rd and since 1928 Alicante has celebrated with the Bonfires of Saint John, which have developed into elaborate constructions inspired by the Valencia’s Fallas. No doubt someone with a sense of humour shall build one depicting a smoker going up in flames!