The people in the bar are outraged, some look close to tears as the news filters through. An old man with a face as wrinkled as the papas arrugadas he’s tucking into shakes his head sadly; the disgust at what he’s just heard evident in his expression. It’s possibly the beginning of the end of an era and the news is being received like the death of a much loved friend.
Spain’s parliamentary commission has passed a bill calling for smoking in bars and restaurants to be banned. The bill still has another couple of hurdles to jump but it’s expected that the 2nd January 2011 will bring an enforced New Year’s resolution for the Spanish. From that date it should be lights out for smokers in bars and restaurants all across Spain, and that includes Tenerife.
Of course the rest of Europe have been adjusting to smoking bans for years but, up until now, the Spanish have pretty much ignored what’s been happening just about everywhere else. It’s a talent they have.
Smoking controls were introduced in Spain a few years ago; however, they were as toothless as the old guy who sells me fish at the market. Bar and café owners were allowed to decide whether they were going to implement a smoking ban or not. On Tenerife, where many of the older men have a cigar clamped permanently in the corner of their mouths, guess what they chose?
It was all quite amusing. As soon as the controls were implemented, nearly every one of Tenerife’s bar owners put up a variation of a sign saying ‘Fumar Permitido’ – smoking allowed here. It was basically a stay of execution and tourists visiting Tenerife who are smokers have continued to enjoy the novelty of still being able to light up more or less whenever they want.
Ironically, even though that law banned smoking in the work place, the heaviest smoker in one of the bars I frequent is one of the Canarian barmen. This is Tenerife – normal rules don’t apply.
And that’s what will make it interesting if and when the law is passed. There are a number of European laws that seem to be treated more as guidelines than laws on Tenerife, so come 2nd January we’ll have to see how strictly the new law is observed.
But, for smokers out there planning to come to Tenerife in the new year who are groaning at this piece of news, here’s something that might brighten your spirits.
Most of the time it can be too hot on Tenerife to sit inside bars; it’s much more comfortable to sit outside in the sun any month of the year…and the smoking ban apparently doesn’t cover bars’ open air terraces.
Category : news
Subscribe : RSS 2.0