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Three quarters of bar owners report fall in sales from anti-smoke law

Thu 10th Feb 2011

A study undertaken by GFK market research has found that a few as 5'000 - 1.6% of the total - of Spain's 350'000 bars, cafes, pubs, restaurants are failing to comply with the month-old anti-smoking law.

Over 750 landlords took part in the survey, with investigators initially posing as customers to observe if anyone smoked on the premises.

The survey also found that just 5% clientele said they had visited at least one establishment where somebody was smoking, while 90% saying they now spent the same amount in a bar as before the law was applied at the start of January, and 1.5% said they now spent more.

The authors of the report attributed the increase as much to people setting out to give up smoking as to non-smokers who disliked smelling of smoke after going for a drink. "Two out of three non-smokers are annoyed when someone smokes next to them," said Gerardo Montoro, director of the study.

Three quarters of bar owners reported a fall in takings, while 5% think they need to organize themselves to oppose the law.

Another side-effect of the law is that in 15% of establishments people are now noticing other smells that the smoke used to camouflage, ranging from fried food and the plumbing to toilets and sweat.

Earlier this week Andalusia's regional government told a Marbella bar owner that he faces a 145,000-euro fine and the closure of his business if he continues to ignore the no-smoking ban. The owner of the Asador de Marbella, ignored the threat and promises to continue to oppose the law.

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