Spain discusses new anti-smoking plan

by Lorraine Williamson
anti-smoking plan

Madrid – The Spanish Ministry of Health is discussing today the Comprehensive Plan for the Prevention and Control of Smoking (PIT) 2024-2027. The government aims to further restrict smoking and vaping with a renewed anti-smoking plan.

The autonomous regions in Spain have submitted 200 proposals for the renewed anti-smoking plan. The Ministry of Health is considering 180 proposals. On Wednesday, April 3, a meeting will be held to discuss expanding the ban on smoking and vaping in certain areas. The draft plan will be further discussed later this week in the Health Council, which will make the final decision.

Adjusting current anti-tobacco legislation

The proposals from the autonomous regions concern adjusting the current anti-tobacco legislation. The main goal of the law is to reduce smoking, especially among young people. However, the regions differ in their approaches. If the final anti-smoking plan is approved, the regions can decide whether to adhere to the plan. The text of the new plan will not specify which areas the smoking ban will be expanded to. Some autonomous regions had requested this information. The ministry emphasises that the renewed anti-smoking plan will serve as a guideline.

To smoke or not to smoke on terraces and in bus shelters?

Asturias and Catalonia advocate for a smoking ban on terraces, the biggest point of contention in the anti-smoking plan. Catalonia also demands neutral packaging for tobacco products. The Balearic Islands and La Rioja prefer self-regulation through attractive fiscal incentives and quality distinctions.

Canary Islands advocate for strict measures

The Canary Islands not only propose banning smoking on terraces but also want to prohibit it in bus shelters, outdoor sports facilities, and around the entrances of places where it is already banned. Additionally, the island group would like to know more about the implementation of neutral packaging in countries where it has already occurred. This is a measure rejected by the industrial lobby, which has significant influence on the islands. The Canary Islands also seek tax parity between tobacco and all its derivatives.

Cogesa Expats

Resistance to smoking in cars

Several autonomous regions have expressed resistance to the ban on smoking in private spaces, such as cars when minors or pregnant women are present. This applies to Castile and León and Andalucia. These regions request more clarity on the regulation. They want clarification on the sometimes contradictory guarantee of the right to health and individual freedom.

Madrid advocates for national regulations

Madrid believes that the state should standardise the law for the entire country. Galicia advocates for self-regulation and initiatives like those the region already has with ‘Smoke-Free Beaches’ or ‘Smoke-Free Parks’. Additionally, Galicia insists on seeking consensus and wants financial resources for the implementation of the anti-smoking plan. Murcia also calls for financial support. Moreover, this region asks for strategic guidelines.

Equating tobacco and e-cigarettes?

Most regions agree to equate cigarettes with e-cigarettes and other forms of tobacco consumption. Some autonomous areas want to go further and ban the sale of single-use cigarettes to minors.

Aragon wants research on health effects of e-cigarettes

Aragon would like research to be conducted on the health effects of substances in e-cigarettes with and without nicotine. The northern Spanish region also wants research into the possibility of using e-cigarettes for tobacco cessation in specific cases and under certain conditions. Additionally, this region advocates for a price increase for cigarettes. This is a measure being investigated by the health sector in conjunction with finance.

Price increase should not solely benefit the state treasury

The Balearic Islands insist that the money resulting from the price increase be spent on the fight against smoking. This way, it is not purely a means to fill the state treasury.


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