Spain's smoking ban on terraces and changes to cigarette packaging deferred

Catalan government says no "immediate change" after meeting with Spanish health ministry

A woman holds a cigarette on Nova Icària beach in Barcelona
A woman holds a cigarette on Nova Icària beach in Barcelona / Blanca Blay
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona/Madrid

April 5, 2024 11:34 AM

April 5, 2024 07:53 PM

The specifics of Spain's new anti-smoking plan have been deferred to be worked out via "legislative development," the Spanish health minister said on Friday. 

Despite the fact that the ministry wants to bring in new restrictions, such as banning the consumption of tobacco on bar terraces, the meeting of the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System held in Madrid ended without any significant developments. 

"This plan now, in a certain way, is a reality. It needs to be implemented via legislation that specifies which elements to include, such as expanding smoke-free zones or changing packaging," said the Minister of Health, Mónica García. 


After the meeting, sources from the Catalan government told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that the initiative agreed on Friday will not mean any "immediate change." 

Aim to prevent next generation from starting to smoke

The Spanish health ministry passed a new anti-smoking plan with the support of regional health ministries on Friday. It did not include, however, include a smoking ban for outdoor terraces in bars and restaurants.

The plan is to set Spain among the "leading positions" in the fight against tobacco, Mónica García, Spanish health minister, said ahead of the meeting.

García suggested the country must be "ambitious" about preventing new generations from starting smoking.

During Friday's Interterritorial Health Committee meeting, the health ministry and regional ministries will passed the new tobacco control plan for the next three years (2024-2027).

According to the Spanish government, the idea is to increase the number of spaces where smoking is not allowed, based on the scientific evidence around passive smoking.

Although the plan does not ban smoking in terraces of bars and restaurants and on university campuses and beaches, it will be the basis for a future law that could include such restrictions.

"Concrete measures will be visible in the future, but we want more smoke-free spaces," García said before presenting the plan, shelved for 14 years, that will be "the stepping stone for future new legislation." 

The goal is to improve citizens' "quality of life" and health, she concluded.