While most of all European countries have forbidden smoking in public areas, Spain probably introduced the toughest anti smoking law in Europe.
Since January 2011, it is forbidden to smoke in enclosed public places in Spain and in any kind of bars, restaurants and discos.
In France, a similar regulation was adopted in November 2006, reinforcing the ban to smoke in public areas and since January 2008, the anti-smoking legislation was extended to restaurants and nightclubs in France and in any places related to the sector of the “hotel and catering industry”.
While Spain only allows smoking terraces if they have two or less walls, meaning that the terrace has to be open to the outside, the French legislation allows smoking terraces, as long as they are not covered or have only one open wall.
The French legislation also allows smoking in “inside areas” called “fumoirs” while Spain bans these rooms.
These “fumoirs”, are rooms strictly reserved to smokers, and they are often used in restaurants and nightclubs. These areas must be closed and well ventilated and the entrance is forbidden to anyone under the age of sixteen. There can not be any drinks or food served, or any kind of services, so that none of the employees should have to come into the smoking area. Those “fumoirs” cannot exceed 20% of the total area of the establishment.
However we can observe that, in certain private clubs, smoking is “tolerated’ after 2am inside the club, which means that the French anti-smoking law is not so strongly applied.
The penalty for not respecting these restrictions in France is 68€ for the smoker and from 135€ to 750€ for the owner, while in Spain, the penalty is much more severe and can go up to 600.000 Euros.
As a conclusion to this article I must affirm that Spanish legislation definitely seems tougher than the French one.
Marc de Lacharriere
International Nightlife Association's lawyer in France