12 Nov 2009
The tobacco industry has undermined smoke-free legislation in Spain and is trying to promote it in other countries, according to a new study published in Tobacco Control.
The study, Legislating Tolerance: Spain’s National Public Smoking Law, outlines the tobacco industry’s efforts from the 1980s to early 2000 to influence smoke-free policies in Spain. Spain’s 2006 law allows separate seating sections and ventilation options in public places such as bars and restaurants, hotels, and airports. Spain does not meet the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 8 guidelines, which mandate 100% smoke-free legislation.
The study recommends Spain enact smoke-free legislation that meets FCTC requirements, which provide protection against tobacco smoke for everyone. Countries considering smoke-free legislation should be aware of the tobacco industry’s attempts to use Spain’s weak law as a legislative model and protect tobacco control policies from industry interference
The study analyzed internal tobacco industry documents and found that:
- Tobacco companies fought smoking restrictions in Spain for decades by promoting separate seating for smokers and ineffective ventilation technologies, supporting unenforceable voluntary agreements with local governments, and influencing ventilation standard setting.
- Spain’s ineffective law is currently being used as a legislative model by the tobacco industry in other countries such as Guatemala and the Czech Republic.
Key messages of the study are:
- FCTC Article 8 Guidelines say the only effective measure protecting people from deadly secondhand smoke exposure is by creating 100% smoke-free environments. Separate smoking rooms and air filtration or ventilation measures do not adequatelt protect people from secondhand smoke.
- Tobacco control advocates and policy makers must be aware of the tobacco industry’s attempts to use Spain’s smoke-free law as a legislative model, monitor the tobacco control legislative process, and protect tobacco control policies from industry interference.