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Communities are considering banning smoking in streets

Will smoking in the street become a thing of the past, due to covid19?

Update -  The Health Minister also announced a blanket ban across Spain, on smoking in public (vapes included) if a two-meter distance cannot be observed.

Smoking is not banned in public, but if you do wish to smoke you need to be a distance of 2m from any other person.

The official information will come with the publication of the BOE in the next few days.

Earlier news

The Public Health Commission for the National Health System warned that smoking or vaping increase the risk of coronavirus infection.

They explained that when exhaling smoke, the smoker projects droplets, as well resulting in constant touching of the face mask and cigarette.

Galicia, in the northeast of Spain, has been the first community to introduced the ban on any public walkways where social distancing cannot be followed, this ban came into place on Thursday 13th August

Most communities are considering banning smoking in the streets and terraces if the physical safety distance is not met (8 other regions, including the Costa Blanca).

Today (Friday 14th August) the Canary Islands has decided on this "public health" measure which has been applauded by experts to help curb the expansion of the coronavirus.

The Ministry of Health warned on July 2nd of the new risks associated with the act of smoking or vaping associated with the transmission of COVID-19, such as the expulsion of droplets that may contain the virus and could be highly contagious, the manipulation of the mask or the contact of the fingers with the mouth after touching the cigarettes.

Other communities considering the ban are-

Madrid - The health councillor, Enrique Ruiz-Escudero, said that the Community would do so as long as he could adapt "the possibility at the legislative level" that Galicia has used.

Castilla-La Mancha  - According to the regional vice president, José Luis Martínez Guijarro, it is "weighing" because "it can be positive to tackle the virus", although it considers that this legislation "should be national".

Generalitat Valenciana, this includes Benidorm -  Studies to implement the no smoking in the street ban.

Cantabria - Analyses whether to promote some action similar to that of Galicia.

Aragon -  one of the communities most affected by the increase in cases and outbreaks, the Health Councillor, Sira Repollés, has acknowledged that the Xunta's decision is "not ruled out" in the region: "We are valuing it as all the measures of other autonomous communities", has clarified.

The Basque Country -   Agrees with the smoking ban if there is no distance, these measures have already been raised as a possibility.

The Balearics -  Health Ministry, Patricia Gómez, is also a supporter and has set the measure as an example of "good practices" that communities and central administration must share to improve public health.

Asturias  - values it "cautiously" according to how the pandemic evolves.

Andalusia - The Andalusian Government is analyzing it, so it has commissioned a study of the members of the Andalusian Anti-Smoking Plan to determine whether there is scientific evidence that the ban on smoking in the street would be positive to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and, according to that report, will study whether or not it implements it, as stated by the Health Advisor, Jesús Aguirre.

La Rioja - Has analyzed all possible scenarios and will apply the measures depending on how the contagion data evolve.

Navarra -  At the moment, does not plan to adopt it but, as they have indicated to Efe from the Health department, will study it.

Extremadura - will not forbid smoking in the street or public places if it can keep its distance and will weigh the measure well before reaching that situation, although if they consider that it is positive to prevent contagion they will not say no, according to the counselor of Health, José María Vergeles.

Murcia -  Does not contemplate the ban, and in the event of launching it would have to agree, an EFE has been told by a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health.

The Spanish tobacco industry - grouped in the Mesa del Tabaco- said on Thursday that  "there are no conclusive scientific studies" to guarantee the smoking ban on streets, bars and terraces imposed by Galicia, is a measure to avoid coronavirus.

Public Health prepares regulatory changes to ban smoking outdoors

Consellera Barceló states that Public Health carries out the adaptation of the measures together with the ministry

"It's not enough to say, it's necessary to adapt the rules to get it up and running.' The Ministry of Health, Ana Barceló, yesterday admitted its intention to follow in the footsteps of Galician autonomy, first to implement the prohibition of smoking in the street if the remoteness measures cannot be met.

"Public Health is being studied because it needs to be adapted and they are doing it" in order to put it into practice, stresses the health care holder.

The national emergency officer, Fernando Simón, said that the current Anti-Smoking Law already constrains enough the possibility of smoking, but that work is being done from the Ministry of Health to determine "the most appropriate format" for this new measure, "which does not have to be a law" decreed. "What is necessary will be done," he concluded.

The measure is considered justified with the aim of preventing coronavirus contagion, although pneumologists from the province admit that it may be controversial for smokers. The head of Pneumology at the Sant Joan Hospital in Alicante recalls that it is actually a claim that both the Society of Thoracic Surgery and other scientific societies supported from the beginning of the pandemic. "The papers show that smokers are at higher risk and complications if they get covid," says Dr Eusebi Chiner.

Vaping smoke can produce even more particles than tobacco, beyond the metre and a half of safety it 'cannot be ensured that they are not transmitted with viral load on terraces and meeting places', so the doctor is convinced that the measure will arrive soon for the whole country and that "there will be no turning back beyond its application" on the occasion of covid.

More news will follow

Please note this article has been translated from Spanish to English so some detail may be lost in this translation, read the original article here in Diarioinformation

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