Spain launched a campaign Tuesday to make smokers aware of the need to respect no-smoking spaces, two days before parliament was expected to give final approval to a ban on smoking in the workplace. More than 50,000 Spaniards die each year as a direct result of smoking, and 700 from passive smoking, the Health Ministry said, adding that the habit killed more people than AIDS and workplace and traffic accidents together. More than 30 percent of Spaniards smoke, the ministry said. The new anti-smoking campaign, with the slogan "Inside you know it's good for you," has a budget of Ђ3.7 million (US$4.4 million) and includes an online guide to help people give up smoking. Advertisements were being run in newspapers and on radio, television and billboards. Lawmakers were expected Thursday to pass a ban on smoking in office buildings, shopping malls, cultural centers and public transport, among other public indoor spaces, as well as in areas where food is prepared and sold.
The legislation would go into effect Jan. 1 if passed. All political parties in the Spanish parliament back the measure, which also forbids the sale of tobacco to people under 18 and extends a ban on cigarette advertising to include the media, billboards and product promotions.
Violators could be face fines between Ђ30 (US$39) and Ђ600,000 (US$784,314). Under the new law, smoking would be allowed in smaller bars and restaurants, at the proprietors' discretion, but such premises would have to be clearly marked as allowing smoking. Areas in airports, theaters and cinemas would also have to designate and separate areas for smoking, reports the AP. N.U.