What should you take in consideration when smoking in Spain after the ban?

smoking not allowed in Spain public spaces

Tourists travelling to Spain might be interested to know about the smoking ban which came into operation in 2011. We know Spain so far as a quite permissive country; however the new smoking ban is one of the toughest in Europe.

This highly controversial action continues to raise heated discussions among non-smokers and smokers. There was resistance from the Hotel sector, restaurants and bars which alleged a  loss of customers.

Spain has become one of the countries with the toughest anti-tobacco laws. In addition to the law that avoids smoking in public spaces, taxes on cigarettes continue to rise every year.

So can you smoke in Spain?

Smoking is prohibited in enclosed public spaces such as bars, restaurants, nightclubs, casinos, airports and outdoor spaces such as playgrounds, schools and hospital grounds. The hotels are equipped to book 30% of their rooms for smokers.

Smoking on the terraces is allowed; the Costa del Sol has a great advantage, as the mild climate all year round allows you to enjoy a drink on a terrace without being cold.

Smoking tourism in Spain or not?

Smoking is now banned from closed public spaces such as bars, restaurants, nightclubs, casinos, airports and outdoor spaces like children playgrounds, school and hospital grounds. Hotels are enabled to reserve 30% of their rooms for smokers. Smoking on terraces is still allowed. In this respect, the Costa del Sol has a huge advantage, as the mild weather throughout the year permits to enjoy a drink in a terrace without getting cold.

According to an international survey by a flight search engine, 45% of smoking tourists would be less willing to travel to Spain for holidays, meanwhile a 61% of non smokers stated that they would be more likely to choose Spain for their holidays and to be comfortable in bars and restaurants without being bothered by the smoke.

Furthermore, 38% of smoking tourists informed that the new law would not influence their decision to travel to Spain, although they would have to accept not being able to smoke indoors. The terraces equipped to smoke can be a good solution for them. And another 13% of respondents, smokers and nonsmokers, responded that the new law does not bother them and, of course, will not affect their decision to travel to Spain.

Smoking in discos, bars or restaurants

At present, smoking is not allowed in enclosed public spaces. This includes discos, bars and restaurants.


Many smokers choose to sit on the terrace of the bar or restaurant to be able to smoke before and after meals or to have a drink.

In the discotheques it is more complicated now if you are a smoker, you will have to go out to the entrance of the discotheques to smoke. Before the ban, going to a discotheque meant returning home with the smell of tobacco permeating clothes and hair, so both smokers and non-smokers benefit from the new situation.

Smoking at Malaga airport?

Although many airports have smoking areas, this is not the case at Malaga airport. Once you’ve passed the security checkpoint, say goodbye to your cigarettes.

Many smokers choose to stay as long as possible outside the airport before passing through security checkpoint. If you are one of them, be careful not to miss the flight; the security check is usually quick, but in high season it may take longer than desired to get through.

What do you think about this controversial law?

Raúl G.T
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Travel blogger, web developer and content editor. Author of many of the travel guides and tips available online about Andalucia, Malaga and Spain.

8 thoughts on “What should you take in consideration when smoking in Spain after the ban?”

  1. But it’s OK that smokers have to stand outside in bad weather? That’s fair? Maybe there could be a reasonable compromise with both indoor and outdoor areas for both smokers and nonsmokers?

  2. I paid €10 for the privilege of using a sun bed and parasol on the beach in Calpe, only for a German on next door sun bed and parasol to light up a very pungent 8 inch cigar which lasted about a hour for him to sleep and puff sleep and puff! He did this 4 times from 10am-5.00pm The only option I had was to move two rows down away from my friends. He knew what he was doing, is that legal? It’s yet another way pf covert bullying!

    1. Im afraid it is legal as he was smoking in open area. Did you tell him you were bothered by the smoke? Maybe he could have moved away instead of you, that would be more fair.

  3. Now you cannot sit on a terrace and enjoy a drink or meal as the smokers congregate there en masse, so non-smokers must sit inside. On a summers evening it is just not fair.

  4. I am very glad to hear about this strong smoking ban. As a non-smoker, I am MORE likely to go to Spain. Will probably be booking a trip shortly and very likely heading for Costa del Sol at the end of the trip. I do not enjoy breathing in other peoples’ disgusting toxic fumes. I am very very glad to hear this and it makes me MORE likely to go to Spain than to another country that might be more lax in its regulations. No one should be subjected to cigarette smoke (be it first, second, or third-hand smoke) in public places or in their hotel rooms or rental cars.

    1. Don’t be fooled by supposed tough smoking laws. No one takes any notice. Just because you are sitting in a outdoor restaurant the persons on the next table will light up.
      It seems 75% smoke

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