Spanish municipalities are taking measures against coastal pollution. The sub-government of the Basque Country and the municipality of Barcelona join other regional authorities which already made part of their beaches smoke-free.
Not only is a smoking ban good for public health, it also benefits the beaches and sustainability of the Spanish coast. Most butts do not end up in the rubbish, but in the sand or sea. Since there is not yet a legal penalty for smoking on the beach, consideration of others determines the actions of smokers on the beach.
Smoking bans are now in place on about 120 beaches in Spain thanks to various initiatives over recent years. Below is a summary of the smoking situation on the Spanish coast.
From Saturday, May 29, there will be a smoking ban on four of Barcelona’s ten city beaches. These are the beaches of Sant Miquel, Somorrostro, Nova Icària and Nova Mar Bella. Violation of the smoking ban is not punishable. However, if a smoker still disregards the ban after a warning from city police, they may be fined for disobeying authority.
In 2006, the municipality of L’Escala (Girona) introduced a smoking ban on the beach of Riuret; and in 2011 the municipality of Sant Feliu de Guíxols (Girona) did the same for all beaches in that municipality.
In the Basque Country, smoking will be discouraged for the first time from 15 June on eight beaches in five municipalities in the region. If the advice is ignored, there will be no sanction. This pilot aims to ‘de-normalise’ tobacco use by bathers. In 2022, the Basque sub-government will start introducing more smoke-free beaches.
On the beaches of Itzurun and Santiago (Zumaia), Laga and Laida (Ibarrangelu), Isuntza (Lekeitio), Laidatxu and Hondartzape (Mundaka) and Garaio Sur (Burgelu), bilingual signs will be displayed with the text “Smoking air”.
In the Basque Country, cigarette sales fell by 22% in January and February this year compared to the same months last year.
You cannot smoke within one and a half metres of others on the Canary Islands, not just on beaches. Years ago, authorities introduced a smoking ban on Canteras beach in Las Palmas. The municipal council of tourist San Bartolomé de Tirajana (Gran Canaria) started a pilot for a smoking ban on the smaller beaches and wants to expand this to other beaches. The exceptions are the large beaches of Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés.
In Arona (Tenerife), smoking has been banned on all beaches since the pandemic and is still in effect. The municipality of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is currently investigating the possibilities of making the beaches permanently smoke-free.
From August 2020, Andalucia prohibited smoking where it is not possible to maintian two metres of social distance. Last summer, the sub-government launched the “Smoke-free beaches” initiative. This covers 21 areas, ten of which are in the province of Cádiz. Without a direct ban on smoking, this initiative had little success. They are looking into the possibilities of introducing a smoking ban on the beaches.
On the Balearic Islands, even before the start of the corona pandemic, they promoted smoking-free beaches, mainly from an environmental point of view. Bathers on 12 beaches in this region are now requested not to smoke.
In the Galicia region, a start was made in 2012 to make the beaches smoke-free. Now the region has no fewer than 162 beaches where smoking is not allowed. The regional government wants to make even more beaches smoke-free this summer, including that of Vigo.
In Valencia you cannot smoke on 30 beaches. First, the beach of Oropesa became smoke-free in 2019. The beaches of El Campello, Elche, Dénia and Vila Joiosa followed in 2020. On the beach of Cullera (Valencia) and Finestrat (Alicante) there is even a fine for ignoring the smoking ban. From this year, you can no longer smoke on the beach Nord de Gandía.