What the new smoking laws mean

Smoked out: Expatriates unsure of where they can and cannot light up

MORE than a year on from the new smoking laws …


THE new, stricter smoking regulations which came into effect at the beginning of January has caused confusion among expatriates living in Spain.

Numerous expatriates who own bars here have contacted the Euro Weekly News (EWN) to complain they only knew about the new law from what they read in the local newspapers.

Some say they have not received any official notification from their local town hall or from any official body outlining the new rules.

By now it is common knowledge that people can no longer smoke inside bars and restaurants, but where else is now designated as a smoke-free zone? EWN reporter Jennifer Leighfield delved into the Official State Bulletin to find out.



  • In all public enclosed spaces, including bars, restaurants, discos, cafés, nightclubs, among others. That is, anywhere allowing access or use of the general public, whether it is publicly or privately owned
  • Public or private workplaces
  • Administrative and legal premises
  • Health centres, hospitals, clinics and other premises which offer health services. Smoking is banned both in and outside
  • Schools, universities and other centres of training and education
  • Sports facilities, stadiums and premises where public entertainment is carried out
  • Areas where help is offered to the public (eg. Tourist office)
  • Inside shopping centres and shops
  • On public transport
  • Social attention centres (eg centres for minors, abuse victims, etc)
  • Leisure and entertainment premises such as cinemas, theatres, bowling alleys, arcades, etc
  • Cultural centres, reading halls, libraries, conferences, exhibition halls and museums.
  • Premises where food is made, transformed, prepared, tasted or sold.
  • Lifts and elevators.
  • Phone booths, cash points and other small enclosed spaces for public use (less than 5m2)
  • Inside bus stations, train stations, ports, airports, ambulances, cable cars, company cars, aeroplanes or taxis.
  • At service stations.
  • In hotels, hostels and other similar premises (unless special conditions met)
  • In children’s play parks
  • Guests or presenters on all TV programmes and media, cannot be seen smoking or mentioning or showing brands of cigarettes
  • In rooms or communal areas at centres for the elderly or disabled



  • In all other open areas, and in spaces which are covered but have less than two or less walls
  • Outside on university campus and at centres for adult education
  • Open-air sports facilities and stadiums
  • Outside shopping centres and shops
  • Outside bus and train stations, ports and airports
  • Outside prisons or in rooms specially provided for smokers
  • Outside psychiatric hospitals or in rooms specially provided for smokers
  • In Private Smokers’ Clubs
  • At centres for the elderly or disabled, rooms may be created for smoking residents, which must have signs and have ventilation systems



Smoking in areas where it is banned or not putting up signs at the entrance to establishments informing clients of the ban can lead to fines of between €30 and a whopping €600,000, depending on the severity of the offence.

The official ‘no-smoking’ signs (which can be downloaded from www.euroweeklynews.com/smokingban) must be placed in visible areas at the entrance to the premises. 

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