So, it’s has actually happened. Smoking has been banned from inside of most restaurants in Spain. (Also from playgrounds in outdoor areas as well). I had heard that the ban was going to take place, but I was skeptical because the 2006 legislature didn’t really seem to be effective.
Most of the press I’ve read about the ban seem to be expressing that the ban will not be good for the bars and restaurants in Spain. Saying that they will lose customers and business. I wanted to take a second to offer some thoughts on why this ban is good for Spain and the economy here…beyond the fact that smoking kills people.
1. Smoking is an expensive habit. As a nail-biter, I take pride in that fact that my bad habit is free. However, smoking is really expensive. A pack of cigarettes in Spain is around 3-4€. So let’s say that a person smokes a 3 packs per week (which I know might be low because a lot of people smoke a pack a day). At 3€ per pack, this is 1008€ per year. Let’s say that because of the ban a person decides to quit smoking because they don’t want to stand outside or a restaurant and smoke anymore. That’s 1008€ that will go somewhere else in the economy. If 100,000 people stop smoking because of the ban, then that’s 100.8 million more into a different sector of the economy. Maybe travel, maybe, buying homes. But at least the money isn’t going up in smoke…
2. Because Spain is a socialist country, the entire economy would benefit by people being more healthy. So, the more people that quit or the less people smoke, the better.
3. Restaurants will now be more attractive to families who, before, would not go out to a smokey restaurant with kids. I know that our family will be more likely to go to a number of restaurants that we wouldn’t have gone to before because it was so smokey inside. Even today I was talking with a restaurant owner and he was so glad that the ban has started…he was thankful because it does change the dynamic of a place…not to mention that the employees of restaurants will probably be able to breath while working. And speaking from experience, I know that a family of four costs more to eat out that just two.
So, I’m thankful that there is no smoking in bars anymore…And I don’t think that this will be the downfall of the Spanish economy.