Spain Anti-Smoking Law Takes Effect

No-Smoking-SignThe toughest anti-smoking law yet in Spain took effect on Sunday across the country, forcing customers in almost all bars, restaurants, and other public places to keep away from their cigarettes.

The new law prohibits smoking in indoor public establishments, but bars and restaurants with outdoor terraces may permit their customers to smoke. Smokers are also prohibited from lighting up in children’s parks, hospitals and schools. The law was supposed to take effect on the first day of the year but its implementation was pushed a day back to allow smokers to enjoy New Year’s Day in bars and restaurants.

The law is a big test for Spain as the country is known for its café culture where cigarettes, drinks, and tapas always go together. An anti-smoking law has been in effect in the country since 2006, but the old legislation gave public establishment owners the right to decide for themselves whether to allow smoking inside their bars and restaurants.