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Petition started in Valencia to debate Spain's new smoking law
19 January 2011 @ 15:10

Taken from The Coastrider

There has been growing opposition reported from Spain’s bars and restaurants to the extended smoking ban which came into force on 2nd January, banning smoking in all closed public spaces. It’s a move which has been criticised by many in Spain’s hostelry sector, and some ten or so bars in the Valencia region are understood to have flouted the new law and are allowing smoking on the premises.

Three bars in Valencia have now followed the example of the Asador Guadalmina in Marbella to allow smoking on the premises and Spanish newspaper, El Mundo indicates that efforts are under way to collect enough signatures for a debate on the matter in the region’s parliament. The minimum number of signatures needed for that to take place is 500,000. Other cases of bars ignoring the law have been reported in Madrid.

In Andalucía, the hostelry sector has called an urgent meeting for later this month to discuss what they have described as the ‘catastrophic’ situation. Sources at the F.A.H. Andalucía Hostelry Federation quoted by Europa Press claim that some bars have lost up to 50 percent of their customers and that many will have to choose between closing or rebelling against the legislation.

In Vigo, Galicia, the EFE reports the case of a man who has taken his revenge on the Town Hall after local police fined him for smoking in a bar by reporting the council to the health service. He said in his complaint that there are no ‘no smoking’ notices on display either in the local police station or in the town planning offices.

But in Montellano, Sevilla province, a 3-star hotel has come up with a way to make the smokers amongst its guests a little happier. They’ll get a 10 percent discount on their hotel bill, plus a free welcome drink after arriving when they light up their first cigarette outside the door to the hotel.
Tomás Prieto, manager of the Hotel La Posada, told Europa Press that they plan to continue with the offer throughout 2011.

In a separate protest, a group of bar owners in a Chiva, Valencia have warned that each of them will sack one member of staff if the government refuses to discuss any change to the new anti-smoking legislation. The bar owners have set up a platform to discuss possible protest measures against the law. They had their first meeting last Monday where it is reported that they concluded that if there is no debate on changes to the law by the end of the month, each would sack one of its staff. Rodrigo Arroyo, a bar owner from Valencia City, was also at the meeting. He complied with the new legislation until 6th January, but now displays ‘Smoking Allowed’ signs after losing 60 percent of his customers during the time he enforced the ban. He told the press that some bar owners are prepared to go as far as starting a hunger strike if there is no further debate on the law in parliament.


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