Health experts support the proposal to ban smoking on terraces and in cars

  • Canarian Weekly
  • 06-02-2024
  • National
  • Photo Credit: Stock Image
Health experts support the proposal to ban smoking on terraces and in cars

The Ministry of Health has put forward a proposal to ban smoking on all terraces of bars and restaurants, whether they are open-air or partially covered. This has been put forward by the new head of the department, Mónica García, who stated yesterday that one of her priorities is to implement the “anti-tobacco plan”, which includes extending smoke-free zones to terraces, beaches, and people’s cars in the presence of children and pregnant women.

The president of the College of Physicians of Las Palmas, Pedro Cabrera, said that "practically all the medical colleges in Spain, including the Canary Islands, are in agreement with banning smoking on terraces" and explained the reasons why.

Reasons for banning smoking on terraces:

The first reason is because, "the majority of the population is non-smokers, almost 80% do not smoke, and they are bothered by the smell and smoke." In addition, Cabrera notes, “Smoke is a toxin that no one should be subjected to if they do not do so voluntarily. Even in small amounts, toxins are toxins and should not be imposed on anyone."

Added to this is the fact that “on terraces, there are children and babies in pushchairs, and, besides being more sensitive to toxins, they see smoking as a normal thing, growing up with the feeling that it is a normal thing and should be prohibited wherever there are children. Children should grow up seeing that as an anomaly."

Banning smoking in public spaces such as terraces, Cabrera claims, "has been proved to be the best way to protect public health." Additionally, he suggests, "raising taxes" and points out that Spain has the lowest tobacco taxes in Europe, with the Canary Islands having the lowest tax rates in Spain. "The idea is to create the maximum number of smoke-free places," he asserts. The Ministry of Health is also considering this possibility.

Tobacco kills 54,000 people every year in Spain

The president of the College of Nursing, Rita Mendoza, reminds us that tobacco is the direct cause of death for more than 8 million people worldwide. In Spain, it kills 54,000 people each year.

"Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death," Mendoza emphasizes, stating that "the professional college supported the ban on smoking in spaces like terraces during the COVID pandemic."

However, the situation was reversed later. When the ban on smoking in these spaces was lifted after the health crisis, "we opposed it because it was a step backwards. Losing ground we had already gained. Smoke-free spaces are always better, and the College will support such actions."

In her opinion, it is necessary to allocate more resources "to prevention" to reduce smoking and passive smoking. Prevention, she adds, is "an effective tool in the young population. This is what we mean by leading by example. If tobacco consumption becomes less common, a positive message is sent to society."