Is this the start of smoke free terraces in bars and restaurants?
Experts claim that the social distance from a smoker should be up to 10 metres, "which is something impossible to fulfill on terraces of bars and restaurants". Furthermore, a smoker has more than twice the chances of catching SARS-CoV-2.
The president of anti smoking group Nofumadores.org, Raquel Fernández Megina, has praised the decision to ban smoking in the streets, issued by the regional governments of Galicia and the Canary Islands, stating that “it is a measure that should already be adopted throughout the whole of Spain, at least during the pandemic, and that it would offer legal protection to defend against passive smoking”.
The association has gathered the support of more than 81,000 people, through its petition ‘Smokeless terraces NOW!’ on the Change.org platform, to put an end to smoke on hospitality sector terraces.
Although the decrees of the autonomous communities make it mandatory to wear masks at all times, in practice, smokers continue to smoke on bar and restaurant terraces, and out om public streets, "making the collective effort to fight the pandemic more difficult," according to Nofumadores.org.
“In Spain we socialize mainly in bars and terraces. Banning smoking in the outdoor spaces of the hospitality industry would therefore be the cheapest and most effective measure to achieve the denormalization of the act of smoking, and facilitate the release of the addiction of a good number of smokers”, they said.
Fernández Megina points a finger at the political parties for "not fulfilling their obligation to carry out a measure that benefits all Spaniards."
"In the future, history will judge the politicians harshly who allowed a smoking rate of 34% in Spain in 2020, and the worrying rise of it that exists among the youngest and most vulnerable," he added.