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Not yet another 'Smoking In Spain' Blog ...

By The Equalizer - Thu 24th Feb 2011

I know what you are thinking : this guy is neither Spanish, nor a smoker so what authority is he on waffling on about the subject of smoking in Spain - or smoking anywhere for matter ?

Ok, so I admit to being a non-smoker, always have been, but smoking has still been an important and fundamental part of shaping my formative years.

Growing up in the UK as a teenager, drinking in pubs since I was 15 (allegedly. I refuse to identify the establishments in question), even as a non-smoker, I could only really ever fully enjoy a pint in a smoky environment where I could only just about see my hand infront of my face and I could guarantee that in the morning my clothes smelled more of the smoke that I hadn't inhaled than the kebab that I had woken up with under my pillow. Indeed, whenever I picture 'the perfect English Pub' in my mind's eye it always has some old bloke sat in the corner nursing a Pint of Bitter and a pipe.

More recently it seems odd going into a restaurant and NOT being asked if I required a smoking or non-smoking table.

I was working on my laptop in my local Spanish bar last night and couldn't help but notice how the owner was asking some of the clientele for payment when they ordered their drinks (unusual by Spanish standards) and not others. I asked him why this was and he explained that he was only asking the smokers for payment. This was because the smokers were nipping outside every 10 minutes to light up. He explained that up until now a very small number had run off intentionally without paying the bill, but a slightly larger number had simply wandered off, forgetting about their non-payment.

This did not seem to go down too well with many of the clientele, but I suppose business is business. It has been reported that, one month on from the ban a lot of bars and restaurants are witnessing a drop in business - all this in the middle of a depressed economy when people don't have much cash to frequent bars too often. The last thing a bar owner needs if then for the few clients that he does have to do a runner without paying him.

But there does seem to be a significant amount of people who are using this as a reason to step up their attempts at stopping smoking for good. Despite the fact that Spain's central government promised assistance in the form of counselling, medical prescriptions etc... that the regional governments are refusing to fulfil. (The regional governments did not have this 'support' in their budgets and at the same time are being leaned on to slash their spending, so who can blame them ?)that many smokers are taking measures to either go 'cold turkey', or use other things like nicotine gum or patches, or even revolutionary remedies in an attempt to stop.

Time will tell how many of Spain's smokers will stop for good, and the long term effects that this will have on the Hospitality sector and the overall health of the nation.

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