Government announces plans to crack down on smoking in vehicles
Percentage of smokers in Catalonia in 2018 up from previous years to 25.6%
Coinciding with the World No Tobacco Day, the Catalan government has announced this Friday that it is preparing a new law that would effectively prohibit smoking in private vehicles, outdoor sports facilities and by public transportation stops.
This has been decided as part of the Catalan Health Department’s attempts to reduce the prevalence of tobacco consumption in Catalonia, which in 2018 was estimated at slightly over a fourth of the population – an increase compared to the 24% that were daily smokers in 2017.
The number of smokers in Catalonia had been decreasing in recent years until this year's increase. In 1990 over a third of the population smoked.
Health Minister Alba Vergés has stated that, while she expects the law to be finalized in the coming year, the concrete measure will have to be discussed and agreed upon with the other concerned agencies, including the Catalan Traffic Service.
Although the proposal is yet to be crystallized in law, Public Health Secretary Joan Guix had already announced in September 2018 that a ban on smoking in private vehicles was on the horizon.
Aside from the associated health risks for smokers, Guix also highlighted the health risks that smoking in cars implies for other passengers, especially children, and the increased “risk of accident” of smoking (as well as eating and drinking) while driving.