Much of the Spanish media has been obsessed with the new anti-smoking laws in Spain which in theory came into effect one second after midnight on New Years Eve. Radio, newspapers and television gave the new laws massive coverage during the last week of December and during the first few days of January, interviewing people with all sorts of opinions, smokers and non-smokers alike.
According to the new law, smoking is now forbidden in all places of work, both public and private and all public buildings. Employees who want to smoke must do so outside, and must make up the time lost at work too.
Restaurants, discos and bars over 100m2 must provide a separate area for smokers which must be equipped with clear signs, be properly divided from the main area with its own ventilation system, must not be in an area where people have to walk through to get in or out of the establishment and can not be more than 30 percent of the total area of the establishment and never more than 300 metres. Any establishments unable to provide a separate area with the said features are obliged to prohibit smoking altogether.
Owners of bars, cafes and restaurants under 100m2 can decide whether or not to allow smoking on the premises. Shops, supermarkets, newsagents (kioscos) etc. are no longer authorised to sell cigarettes, cigars or tobacco. The only establishments allowed to sell tobacco are licensed estancos, the traditional stamp and cigarette shops in Spain.