Wie in Spaanse café’s rondkijkt ziet daar vele rokers die, ondanks het rookverbod, gewoon een sigaretje opsteken op plaatsen waar dat niet is toegestaan. Ondanks dat zijn er tijdens het eerste jaar waarin het rookverbod van kracht is, maar twee boetes uitgedeeld. En daarvan was er maar één aan een roker die op de verkeerde plek een peuk opstak.
Tegelijkertijd rapporteert een horecaorganisatie in Malaga dat bij de restaurants en bars waar wél serieus het rookverbod wordt gehandhaafd, de omzet met 13% is afgenomen en het aantal klanten zelfs met 30%.
In the end, it turned out to have been the mouse that roared. The figures speak for themselves: during the first year of the new anti-smoking law, only two people were fined for smoking in places where smoking is prohibited. And it takes no more than a short walk around any town or city in the province of Malaga to see for oneself that a great many smokers are satisfying their addiction to tobacco in many places where smoking is prohibited. A total of 204 reports of illegal smoking were made to the police in the same period in the province, these reports being now in different stages of processing. The only lesson we have learned so far about the anti-smoking law is that few people care about its existence in Malaga province.
The Health Delegation says that fines of 30 and 601 euros have been imposed on two people in the province, the first on a bar owner who had failed to erect the proper sign for the smoking area in his establishment and the second on a smoker who chose the wrong place to light up. Both people have appealed the fines. The Health Delegation has received no reports of people smoking in establishments of more than 100 square metres, in which the law allows – since the beginning of last September – for special areas to be sealed off for smokers.
A hundred inspectors
There are about a hundred inspectors in the province whose task it is to ensure that the new law is being complied with. They are attached to the Delegation of Health, Consumerism and Tourism in the Junta de Andalucía, and their primary responsibility is to ensure that establishments of more than 100 square metres have areas set aside for smokers, if they choose to allow smoking on their premises. This means expensive re-construction work, and about 90 per cent of such places have decided not to go ahead with it, so far. A total of approximately 7,500 large bars and restaurants have opted to ban smoking altogether in their establishments rather than re-structure them.
This decision has had an immediate effect on the cash registers in these establishments. The president of the Association of Hostelry Businesses in Malaga (Aehma), Rafael Prado, tells us that since the new law came into force, those bar and restaurant owners who have banned smoking completely have lost 30 per cent of their bar clientele. “This translates into a global loss of about 12 per cent in turnover each day,” he adds.
In his view, the new law has not achieved its objectives. “All it has done is to give everybody a bad headache,” he says, adding that there are not enough incentives for smokers to give up the habit.