As part of a pilot program, four beaches in Catalonia were made non-smoking. The smoking ban will now be extended for all 10 beaches along Barcelona’s coastline.
The ban on smoking has been implemented at all beaches of Barcelona. Anyone found violating the rules could face a stiff fine.
In a successful pilot scheme, four beaches were designated non-smoking zones last year. Now, the ban on smoking is being extended to all ten of Barcelona’s beaches.
The ban will take effect in July. However, Barcelona’s council has stated that a communication campaign will be launched this month to raise awareness.
The council stated that trial received an 8.2 point out of 10 score from citizens. This resulted in a significant reduction of the number of cigarettes butts in the sand which is highly polluting.
Catalan mediaReports indicate that 20% of Barcelona’s residents smoke, while only 10% do so on the beaches.
The ten beaches affected by the new rule cover just over three miles of coastline, with fines for anyone breaching the ban being set at €30, which is about £25.
Eloi Badia, Councillor for Ecological Transition, said: “Last year no-one was fined.
“Everyone understood the situation perfectly and only the odd absent-minded smoker had to be asked to move on to the promenade.”
Barcelona Council chiefs claim they will extend the ban to protect health and to please the majority of beach users. They also point to scientific evidence that cigarette butts can take about a decade for to disappear.
Spanish authorities have proposed to expand the current ban on smoking public places to include terraces as well as beaches.
The ambitious new anti-smoking bill currently being drafted, which will also include a ban for lighting up private cars, is not expected be fully completed until 2023.
The country’s Health Ministry also wants to push up the price of tobacco through extra taxes.
Spain’s tobacco control legislation currently prohibits smoking in many indoor public places.
Owners of cafes and bars are expected to wage a vigorous fight against any proposed changes to the current laws.
Jose Luis Yzuel was President of Spain’s Hospitality Industry.
He stated: “On the one hand the State collects hundreds of millions of pounds in taxes from tobacco and instead of raising awareness and respecting the freedom of businesses, it bans it.
“They create an issue with our customers when right now there is no problem.”