Smoking is a bit of a touchy subject here in Spain if you are a non-smoker. Even though a new law was passed here and came into effect on January 1st, 2006, there are many loopholes. It’s Spain after all, always on the lookout for a diddle. The new law is restricting smoking in public places as well as in the work place.
Almost four years after the law banned smoking, the air is still thick with smoke almost everywhere. There is virtually not a single bar (as in coffee bar) here in Mallorca where you could enjoy a café cortado or a café con leche without being surrounded by smoke. It is a bit better regarding restaurants but not by much. The other day I went into a Palma restaurant that was posting a non-smoking sticker at their front door, only to find that inside half of the customers had ashtrays on their tables and were in fact smoking. I declined to sit down and left without much further ado.
In Spain as a whole, smoking has gone down since 2006 from 24.2 percent to 24.1 %, we are told, i. e. not a lot. Here in Mallorca, it seems that 27.0 % of the population still smoke, when in 2005 the number was 29.2 percent. Apparently, one in three Mallorcan youngsters of 14 years of age smokes.
The Spanish government and the local Mallorcan Conselleria de Salut have recently announced that the anti-tobacco laws will have to be tightened and loopholes would be eradicated. We’ll see.
Funnily, at least here in Mallorca, sales of cigarettes seem to be on the increase, if ever so slightly. It appears that most of the tourists buy cigarettes in bulk before they return home to their countries where prices for a pack of cigarettes are much higher, be that Germany, the UK or Scandinavia. At my local tabacco shop here in Felanitx cigarettes can be bought from between 2,70 € and 3,90 €, including foreign brands. A new proposal from Brussels has just been announced, though, that minimum tobacco prices will have to be raised across the European Union member states as of next year.
The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 28th, 2009. The time was 12:36:15.