Spain Is Ready For Full Smoking Ban

MADRID -(Dow Jones)- Spain is ready for total smoking ban in public places, Spain’s health minister Trinidad Jimenez said in an interview Monday with radio station Cadena Ser.

“Right now, with the information we have and the study we are doing of the current [smoking] law, I think the society is mature enough… and we want to prohibit smoking in all public places,” Jimenez said.

In 2006, Spain introduced a smoking ban in workplaces and public places larger than 100 square meters. However, a smoke-free bar or restaurant, for example, in Spain is rare. Many of the country’s bars and restaurants are smaller than 100 square meters and in larger establishments, few owners enforce the law or have installed nonsmoking sections.

The move is likely to be a blow to tobacco companies, that have traditionally found Spain, along with other Southern European nations, to be key markets.

Imperial Tobacco Group PLC (IMT.LN), maker of Fortuna, Ducados, Davidoff, West and Drum and Phillip Morris International whose Marlboro brand is also popular in Spain, are likely to be the most affected by a probable drop in tobacco consumption in the country.

An Imperial Tobacco spokesman said smoking bans tended to reduce tobacco consumption in countries where they were put in place, but said that tobacco consumption in Europe had been declining for decades.

Phillip Morris International wasn’t immediately available for comment.

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-By Jason Sinclair, Dow Jones Newswires; 34 91 395 8127; [email protected]

(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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