Extracted from Tobacco Control. 2011; vol. 20, No. 1, p. 5-6.
Spain was one of the first European countries to implement a tobacco control law. However, the ban of smoking in enclosed workplaces had an important exception in the hospitality sector—bars, pubs, taverns, restaurant and hotels (Tob Control 2006;15:79–80). This type of partial legislation, known from that moment on as the ‘Spanish model' (Tob Control 2010;19:24–30), allowed smoking in hospitality venues of less than 100 square metres, subject to the decision of the owner. Not surprisingly, this model has been strongly supported by the tobacco industry when lobbying against smoke-free policies. The ‘Spanish model’ has been advocated, with slight variations, in other European and Latin American countries considering the implementation of smoke-free policies.
policies are urged by
the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The
smoke-free policies and their lack of negative effects on
businesses, have been confirmed by research, including a
tobacco control report
by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Moreover,
three years after
the Spanish law entered into force, the evidence generated
from its scientific
evaluation clearly indicates that the exceptions in bars and
limited its effectiveness. Several studies have shown that
secondhand smoke in workplaces has reduced (although not
exposure during leisure—mainly due to exposure in hospitality
venues—has not. Moreover, exposure of hospitality workers in
smoking continues to be allowed (80 per cent of all venues)
has not decreased,
but has even increased.
In the context of the accumulated evidence of the law's failure to protect hospitality workers, the Spanish parliament changed the partial ban to a total ban. From 2 January 2011, the ban on smoking in all enclosed workplaces now includes bars and restaurants, with no exceptions. Moreover, smoking is now banned on the campus of hospitals and in healthcare centres. Thus the ‘Spanish model’ will no longer be that of a partial and weak ban, but a total one, as recommended by the FCTC.
What happened in Spain clearly illustrates how partial bans, voluntary policies or ‘courtesy of choice’ programmes, as promoted by the tobacco industry and parts of the hospitality sector, do not protect people against secondhand smoke. Spain has finally become an example of good practice for those countries aiming to go smoke-free.
ESTEVE FERNÁNDEZ, Institut Català d'Oncologia, Barcelona, Spain (email@example.com)MANEL NEBOT, Agència de Salut Pública de Barcelona, Spain