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

smoking not allowed in Spain public spacesTourists 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.

Update August 2020 Covid-19

Following the situation of the Covid-19, smoking is prohibited from August in all public spaces if a distance of at least 2 metres to other people cannot be guaranteed.

This means that you cannot smoke socially with other smokers, as the safety distance must be respected on a mandatory basis.

Some regions are banning smoking on the beach, in the case of Andalusia so far and in the absence of other news, it is allowed as long as the distance to another person is 2 meters or more.

Fines for breaking this law start at 100 Euros, depending on how many people are put at risk.

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.

Transfers from the airport

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?

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Raúl G.T

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

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

  1. Is it me, or is there a distinct impression that smokers are bad people altogether! Add to that, rude, of lesser intelligence and generally all round lower humans?! Nothing worse than being sat next to a drunk either, but I suppose that’s a more acceptable vice. I enjoy a cigarette and im not an idiot.

  2. Never mind the smoking, we are overrun with yapping ill trained animals allowed to wander around in restaurants and be a pest to all and sundry. Not everyone is a dog lover, some of us have relationships with people.

  3. 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?

    1. No one has to stand outside in bad weather. You could simply choose not to smoke. While in principle I would support areas for both, in proportion to the smoking population (which is 25% in Spain at the moment) the issue is that smoke drifts so while you may be sitting in a supposedly non smoking area you still get the stink.
      What particularly annoys me is being seen as ‘difficult’ if I do not wish to be seated next to smokers, or move away. Or when the person at the next table holds their lighted cigarette behind them so as not to inconvenience their friends at the same table but its right next to me on the next table.
      The simple problem with your nasty habit is that there is no way for you to keep it to yourself.

      1. I absolutely agree with you Margaret…some smokers don’t like to disturb surrounding people but others do not care.
        Thank you for sharing your comment!

  4. 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.

    2. I know you posted this two years ago but I’ve just seen it. The issue I think with many smokers is they simply cannot accept how nasty their smoke is for non-smokers. My husband is actually allergic to it probably brought on by passive smoking through his job when young.
      We had a friend who would throw a tantrum if anyone moved their chair to be out of her smoke.
      The very worst situation I saw was a smoker seated with friends in the non smoking area. He lit up and when the waiter approached him he said that he only wanted one cigarette and din’t want to be surrounded by smokers when he was eating. Selfish or what?
      Its nasty, it stinks and, in all honesty, smokers stink too when they come back inside after their ‘fix’ outside.

      1. These stories sound fake, or at least not representative of the vast majority of smokers.

  5. 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.

    1. Now you know how we smokers feel when the weather outside is less than fine and we are obliged by stupid politicians to go outside.

  6. 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

      1. i go to spain twice a year this will be my last holiday to spain why would i when i can spoke outside anywhere in Ireland its not cheap in june im paying all that money and cant smoke outside

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