100% smoke-free Spain urged

21 Sep 2010

Article 8.1

A coalition of national and international tobacco control and public health experts recently called on the Spanish government to make all enclosed spaces 100 per cent smoke-free.

Read the full Global Smokefree Partnership press release below


Barcelona, 21 September 2010:  At a press conference in Barcelona today, a coalition of national and international tobacco control and public health experts, led by The Global Smokefree Partnership (“GSP”) and The National Committee for Smoking Prevention (“CNPT”), urged the Spanish Parliament to pass legislation to make all enclosed public places in Spain completely smokefree.

“Today, national and international experts call on Spanish policymakers to resist the direct and indirect pressure from the tobacco industry and its allies.  To protect all Spain’s citizens, smokers and non-smokers, from the death and illness caused by secondhand smoke, they must pass new, fully comprehensive legislation,” commented Ulysses Dorotheo, Co-Chair of the GSP, an international coalition with over 300 members, committed to promoting effective smokefree air policies worldwide.

The press conference coincides with the European Respiratory Society’s “ERS” Annual Congress, which is taking place this week in Barcelona.  Barcelona ERS Congress Chair and Professor of Medicine at the University of Barcelona, Josep Roca commented: “Today’s message from the GSP is extremely important in terms of fighting the incidence of chronic disease and premature death in Spain.  The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that secondhand smoke exposure kills 3000 Spaniards a year.  It significantly increases the risk of Respiratory Diseases, Cardiovascular Disorders and Cancer. Even without clinically evident disorders, tobacco smoke causes important impairment at systemic levels, mainly altering oxygen transport and utilization. In children, it increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, as well as the incidence of asthma and ear infections. There is no safe exposure to secondhand smoke; even in small amounts it can have serious health effects, which is why Spain needs 100% smokefree legislation.”


Experience from around the world shows that the only real way to protect the population from the toxic effects of secondhand smoke is to completely eliminate tobacco smoke in all enclosed spaces.  Where such laws have been implemented, there has been a rapid decrease in the incidence of acute myocardial infarction, even in non-smokers, and in the incidence of asthma. Currently, more than 200 million European citizens live in countries with 100% smokefree laws (such as Ireland and the United Kingdom) or with legislation that, in practice, protects citizens from secondhand smoke in enclosed public spaces (such as France, Italy, Holland, and Sweden).  Armando Peruga of the WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative noted: “To comply with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, all enclosed public spaces must be 100% smoke free, without smoking zones or other exceptions, such as the creation of ‘smoking clubs’ in bars, restaurants, and other private establishments.  Despite alarmist predictions about the potential impact on business, studies in countries with 100% smokefree laws have failed to show economic losses in the hospitality or entertainment sectors.”

Dorotheo adds, “The approval of a comprehensive smokefree law would not only improve the health of the Spanish people and bring Spain in line with international best practice; it would also have positive international repercussions.  The multinational tobacco companies are leading many countries, especially those with precarious and fragile administrative structures, to promote the exceptions allowed by Spain’s current policy.  They suggest Spanish Law 28/2005 as an alternative model to the comprehensive policy outlined by the Framework Convention.  In reality, these exceptions compromise the protection smokefree law offers to both non-smoking customers and hospitality industry workers.”


The GSP notes that some Spanish administrations, such as the government of the Basque country, have already implemented comprehensive and progressive legislation that includes open air public spaces in which people or youths gather (such as playgrounds).  “These are worthwhile initiatives that show how the protection of a population can prevail over the influence of special interest groups,” concluded Francisco Rodríguez Lozano, Vice President of CNPT.  “The majority of the Spanish public supports such measures and we have seen this support increase over time.  For example, no one thinks to smoke in buses or trains in Spain, whereas not long ago it was completely normal. The same thing happened in our neighbouring countries, Italy and France, with regard to bars and discotheques.  The business community is an important partner in social development, and we are happy that responsible businesses now recognize their role in ensuring 100% smoke-free air as part of their commitment to protect the health and safety of their staff and customers. 100% Smoke-free laws are good for everyone: both business and public health.”

– Ends –

Notes to Editors

About The Global Smokefree Partnership

The Global Smokefree Partnership is a multipartner initiative formed to promote effective smokefree air policies worldwide. The Partnership is hosted by the American Cancer Society and the Framework Convention Alliance. Partners include Action on Smoking and Health – DC, Action on Smoking and Health London, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Cancer Research UK, HealthBridge India, International Union Against Cancer, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Institute for Global Tobacco Control, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, Promoting Action for Smokefree Environments (APALTA), Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Smokefree Partnership Europe, Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, World Heart Federation, World Lung Foundation.  www.globalsmokefreepartnership.org

About The National Committee for Smoking Prevention

The National Committee for Smoking Prevention (CNPT) is the umbrella organization for the Spanish smoking prevention and tobacco control movement.  CNPT members include medical organisations, health professionals, and other high-profile subject matter experts, such as the Spanish Association Against Cancer.  The CNPT works with other organizations interested and involved in tobacco control and is part of the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP).  The CNPT conducts important work in public education and information, working with health professionals, health authorities and political representatives.

About The Smoke Free Partnership

The Smoke Free Partnership is a strategic, independent and flexible partnership between Cancer Research UK, the European Heart Network and the European Respiratory Society. It aims to promote tobacco control advocacy and policy research at EU and national levels in collaboration with other EU health organisations and EU tobacco control networks.  http://www.smokefreepartnership.eu

More information

Download: Key facts on smoking, smoke-free and the Spanish model  [Adobe Acrobat PDF – 111.84 KB]


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