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Can you smoke in public places in Spain?

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Question: Can you smoke in public places in Spain?

On January 2, 2011, the information on this page will be out of date, as smoking will be banned in all public places. Read more about the Spanish Smoking Ban.

Answer: Several countries in Europe have brought in strict laws to combat smoking in public places, with many banning it completely. However, the situation in Spain is more complicated.

On December 26 2005, a law was passed in Spain (coming into effect on January 1 2006) severely restricting smoking in public places. The effects of this legislation were as follows:

  • Bars and restaurants under 100m² (and all work places, for that matter) must decide whether they want to permit smoking and must clearly display if smoking is allowed or not.
  • Bars and restaurants over 100m² must have separate areas for both smokers and non-smokers.

Assuming you aren't working in Spain, the biggest effect for you will be whether or not you can smoke in a bar or a restaurant. Look for a sign in the window as you come in telling you if smoking is allowed ("Está permitido fumar") or is not allowed ("No está permitido fumar") or if there is a smoking area ("Zona para fumadores").

If you forget to check as you come in, look for ashtrays or at what other people are doing. If you can't see any obvious signs of smoking, ask: "¿Se puede fumar aquí?" (SEH PWEH-de foo-MAR a-KEE).

Useful Vocabulary for Smokers in Spain

Signs You May See
  • Está permitido fumar
  • No está permitido fumar
  • Zona para fumadores
Useful Expressions
  • ¿Se puede fumar aquí? (SEH PWEH-de foo-MAR a-KEE)
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