Interested in hearing how they were taking the new ban, I interviewed Spaniards living in Spain and asked them how it was going. Apparently not well for some. One young man in Madrid told of a relative of his who keeps forgetting about the 60-euro fine (about $77), stopping himself a number of times from lighting up outside businesses and parks. “They should have done this gradually,” he remarked, “People are taking it hard, using it as another way to complain about the government.”
Much like the U.S., a few years ago, Spain began by mandating smoking areas in bars and restaurants of a certain size or for smaller ones, giving the option to the owner of posting a sign to declare an establishment smoking or non-smoking. According to statistics, about 70% of Spaniards are non-smokers. The consensus in my informal poll was that in the long run everyone believed it would be for the greater good. Smoking rates in Spain has been declining over the last few decades but newer smokers are increasingly women and young people which concerns the government. Not only that, but according the WHO (the World Health Organization), as far as consumption of tobacco goes, as opposed to number of smokers, Spain is one of the highest in volume per smoker in Europe.
I wish them luck. I think it’s a great step forward and hopefully a number of smokers will be motivated the same way I was to lay off the smokes for good and breathe freely.