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Spain Bans Smoking in Most Public Places

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If you’ve been to Spain, then you know Spaniards like to smoke. So it should come as something of a surprise next time you visit and notice that all the smoke is gone. That’s because Spanish lawmakers voted late last year to ban smoking in almost all public places; the law took effect last week.

According to the BBC, the new law bans smoking in restaurants, bars, offices, shops, schools, hospitals, and on public transport. Businesses occupying more than 100 square meters (a bit over 1,000 square feet) have eight months to construct smoking sections, if they so choose.

Despite Spain’s reputation as a smoking-crazy country, a government-issued survey showed that 70 percent of the public supports the ban. Other surveys say roughly 30 percent of Spaniards smoke.

Spain is my favorite country to visit, and it’s true: Smoking does (well, did) seem ubiquitous there—especially coming from the U.S., where smoking in public has been banned for years in many cities and states.

Readers, what do you think about the ban?

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