Will smoking be banned on bar and restaurant terraces permanently?
The Ministry of Health is to propose the permanent prohibition of smoking on all terraces of hospitality and catering establishments throughout the whole of the national territory of Spain, regardless of whether two metres can be maintained as an interpersonal safety distance, and regardless of the health crisis.
According to the draft, of which parts have been released to the press, the proposal has "the dual objective of acting on smoking as a risk factor for infection and contagion of Covid-19, together with the need to contribute to the control of the evolution of the bad effects of smoking itself in the whole of Spain”.
The Canary Islands is one of the six autonomous communities, together with the Balearic Islands, Cantabria, the Valencian Community, Asturias and Aragón that already prohibits the consumption of tobacco, electronic cigarettes and shisha pipes on outdoor terraces regardless of the safety distance.
According to experts, there is evidence on the transmission of the virus through aerosols as the predominant form of contagion. Aerosols are produced when breathing and speaking, the load being much greater when carrying out activities in which the air is exhaled with more force, such as coughing, sneezing, singing, screaming or smoking, hence the necessity of masks, spacing, and group restrictions.
The document says: “When smoking and exhaling the smoke, whether from conventional tobacco, by heating, electronic cigarettes and using utensils such as shisha pipes, tiny respiratory droplets are expelled, similar to those that are expelled when singing, speaking, coughing, sneezing or breathing, that can contain viral load and be highly contagious. These droplets remain suspended in the air in the form of an aerosol and can travel further than larger drops and remain in the environment even after the issuing person has left.”
Other articles that may interest you...
The text that will be proposed for debate and approval by the autonomies, is based on a 43-page technical document called "The evaluation of the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through aerosols. Prevention measures and recommendations.” In that report, published in November last year, the specialists certified that among the “contagion factors" dependent on the issuer, was the "exhaling of tobacco smoke and electronic cigarettes because it increases the emission of aerosols."
That draft insists that there are numerous scientific publications that argue that the coronavirus is transmitted by aerosols that spread more strongly with smoke and that the fact of smoking puts the health of the people around a smoker at risk when inhaling that 'infected' smoke or vapour at higher speeds and farther away.