Spain’s new smoking ban clears air in hotels, restaurants, bars

By Barbara De Lollis, USA TODAY

Enjoy lighting up over tapas and drinks in your hotel bar when visiting Spain? Well, get ready – it’s a new year.

On Jan. 2, Spain enacted its tough, new smoking ban, prompting smokers to snub out their cigars and cigarettes inside bars, cafes, restaurants and hotel rooms.

“Establishments overnight began displaying notices on their doors and windows such as ‘Smoke-Free Area. No Smoking’ or showing a lighted cigarette with a red line across it,” Agence France Presse (AFP) reports.

The tough ban now puts smoky Spain in the same category as Britain, France and Italy in outlawing smoking in all enclosed public spaces, according to CNN

What the law means for hotels will vary on a case-by-case basis, as hotel owners were given permission to reserve 30% of their guest rooms for smokers, if desired.

Still, the law’s tough enough that the UK’s Guardian says it’s “likely to turn the EU’s fourth largest tobacco producer from a country full of smoky bars and restaurants into one of Europe’s most stringently smokeless

Will ban hurt hotel, restaurant, bar business?

Spain’s hospitality industry warns that the ban is poorly timed, given the economic crisis.

Jose Luis Guerra of the Spanish Hotel and Catering Association told AFP that the smoking ban will cause more pain for restaurants and bars that have been taking a beating for the past 31 months. The ban, he said, could lead to a further 5% drop in sales in restaurants and about 10% in bars, he said.

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