Feeds

Disconsolate Spanish smokers driven out into blizzard

Our man reports from the tierra del cigarrillo frío

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Glum Spanish smokers have resigned themselves to the idea that the taking of tobacco will in future be done on the street, as a ban on smoking in public places came into force on 2 January.

Initial reaction to the clampdown was predictable enough, with one customer of my local bar declaring on Sunday morning the government could "shove its ban up its fu*king arse" as he contemplated the morning coffee he'd either have to quaff without the traditional accompanying gasper or hit the 'nad-freezing terrace for his caffeine/nicotine fix.

It's now an offence to light up in enclosed public spaces, in close proximity to kids' playgrounds, in airports and anywhere in hospital grounds.

Mercifully for bullfighting aficionados, they can still enjoy a cigar in the arena, as can football fans, as long as the stadium has an open roof.

Prisons are also exempt from the ban, prompting another local to quip that he'd have greater freedom to hit the cancer sticks if he clubbed to death the idiots who pushed through the anti-tobacco law in the first place.

Moaning aside, there are some with genuine cause for complaint. A few years back, all restaurants and bars over 100m2 were obliged to create dedicated smokers' areas, at not inconsiderable cost.

Owners of such premises are a mite irritated that they'll get no compensation for this ultimately unnecessary expenditure. One Malaga restaurant has declared it will defy the ban in protest, although with fines ranging from €30 for a first offence and €100,000 for serial offenders*, it's doubtful it can resist for long.

Indeed, as of yesterday, the government's anonymous grass-a-smoker scheme had received over 300 tip-offs. The police are apparently still working on just how they're supposed to deal with these, but no doubt lightning raids by dedicated teams of snout-busting officers backed by sniffer dogs are just a matter of time.

As a Brit, I've long since got used to nipping outside the pub for a quick smoke, although the idea of fume-free Spanish hostelries will take a bit of getting used to.

On Sunday, I lasted about five minutes with my café con leche before braving the winter chill for a ciggie, having been struck by the sudden desire to escape the sound of thundering fellow smokers railing against the injustice of it all.

In the event, even the icy outdoors provided no sanctuary from the anti-tobacco crusade. As I gratefully whipped out cigarettes and lighter, a passing chap with an irritating smirk across his smug face availed himself of the opportunity he'd obviously waited years for.

"So," he chortled, "now you're going to give yourself lung cancer and pneumonia."

Having considered momentarily whether to engage in an intelligent and lively debate with the Fagfinder General, I decided instead to sum up the mood on that frosty January morning by inviting him to "piss off". ®

Bootnote

*The €30 first offence fine is for private individuals. Owners who fail to enforce the ban on their premises face a fine of €601 – €100,000, according to El País.

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
Brit Rockall adventurer poised to quit islet
Occupation records broken, champagne corks popped
Accused! Yahoo! exec! SUES! her! accuser!, says! sex! harassment! never! happened!
Allegations were for 'financial gain', countersuit claims
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land
Bold, barmy Brit adventurer Nick Hancock escapes North Atlantic islet
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
Japanese artist cuffed for disseminating 3D ladyparts files
Printable genitalia fall foul of 'obscene material' laws
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.