Survey reveals 72 per cent of Spaniards support banning smoking on terraces

Image of a woman breaking a cigarette.

Credit: Gorynvd/

According to the results of an annual survey, 72 per cent of Spaniards support banning smoking on hotel terraces, 70 per cent at bus stops and 60 per cent on beaches.

This was revealed by data collected by the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine (semFYC). A total of 9,711 people from all the autonomous communities participated in this year’s poll.

The survey, presented on the occasion of Smoke-Free Week, also highlighted that 19.2 per cent of young people between the ages of 14 and 18 smoked. It established that new tobacco devices, especially vaping and electronic cigarettes, attracted them more than the conventional cigarette.

As was shown by the results, a high percentage of respondents would support a greater restriction on tobacco consumption in Spain.

A huge 90.9 per cent of Spaniards – five percent more than the 85.6 per cent of last year – were in favour of expanding smoke-free spaces.

Specifically, 70 per cent of those surveyed would forbid smoking at bus stops. There are also more and more people who would be in favour of banning smoking on beaches. That figure increased from 54 per cent in 2022 to 60.7 this year.

The total included 70.6 per cent of non-smokers, 59.8 per cent of ex-smokers and up to 30 per cent of current smokers.

In addition, 81.7 per cent of those surveyed by semFYC would ban smoking around educational centres and 47.2 per cent were even against smoking inside cars.

Regarding hospitality terraces, 71.6 per cent of those polled would prohibit the consumption of tobacco in these spaces. This included 84.9 per cent of non-smokers and 71.2 per cent of ex-smokers.

Even 28.2 per cent of smokers would support this measure, a figure that rises to 40 per cent when those who class themselves as ‘occasional’ smokers was added.

49.4 per cent of those surveyed considered that the regulations governing tobacco consumption on hotel terraces are not being complied with.

This percentage reached 53.9 per cent in Aragon, the Balearic Islands and the Valencian Community, precisely the CCAAs that have regulated tobacco consumption on terraces.

The degree of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke continues to be high in Spain, as shown by the fact that 84.7 per cent stated that they were exposed to environmental tobacco smoke in different situations of their daily lives.

These included 74.4 per cent on terraces, 45.8 per cent in recreational activities in the open air, 34.3 per cent when waiting at the bus stop, 36.7 per cent waiting in line to access a venue, 13.6 per cent in the vicinity of educational centres, and seven per cent in cars.

Young people between the ages of 19 and 34 were the ones with the highest exposure, at 93.2 per cent. This occurred mostly on restaurant terraces (85.2 per cent) and other leisure activities in the open air (62 per cent).

In addition, 22.4 per cent of adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 said they had been regularly exposed to environmental tobacco smoke at the entrances to educational centres and 11.2 per cent in cars.

As a result, semFYC experts considered that adolescents: “constitute a vulnerable group due to the damage that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke entails for their health and due to the normalization they perceive of the consumption of tobacco-related products, which without It certainly makes it easier for them to start using these products”.

“For this reason, we consider it necessary to intensify the measures aimed at preventing the exposure and consumption of tobacco-related products in this age group”, they claimed.

Susana Morena, the coordinator of the Week Without Smoke, pointed out the bad news in the survey results. She highlighted the high consumption of tobacco products among the youngest, especially vapers and hookahs: “devices that are harmful in themselves and that currently act as a gateway to tobacco consumption among the youngest”.

Among those surveyed between the ages of 14 and 18, 19.2 per cent smoked. In this age range, the highest consumption was attributed to new devices, especially electronic cigarettes or vapers.

Up to 20.8 per cent of the adolescents surveyed consumed this type of product, 14.3 per cent consumed hookah and 13.1 per cent consumed conventional cigarettes. Around 7.5 per cent used tobacco mixed with cannabis (joint).

In the age group between 19 and 24 years, the proportion of smokers rose to 32.3 per cent. Their type of tobacco consumption was reversed though, so that the proportion of conventional cigarette smokers (19.1 per cent) increased compared to those who consumed vapers (13.8 per cent) and hookah (11.5 per cent).

The proportion of users of tobacco mixed with cannabis (joint) in this group remained at 6.7 per cent.

Morena warned that many young people were introduced to tobacco use: “through the use of vapers and hookahs due to the false sense of innocuousness of these devices that has been disseminated through marketing campaigns with commercial interests aimed especially at young people”.

“Hence the importance of applying regulatory legislative measures to these products”, she concluded, as reported by

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at


    • Henri de Groot

      23 May 2023 • 16:58

      Sample size far too small to produce significant results, maybe 60% margin of error?

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