Anti-Smoking Law in Spain Has Helped Many Quit Smoking

Anti-Smoking Law in Spain Has Helped Many Quit Smoking

Since the law banning smoking in public places such as bars and restaurants in Spain was enforced in January 2006, 5 percent of waiters have stopped smoking and the number of cigarettes smoked has fallen by almost 9 percent. A new study led by researchers from the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) has shown that the proportion of smokers strongly addicted to nicotine has halved as a result of the law.

All the effects observed during this research study have been "significantly reduced" among waiters in bars where smoking has been completely banned than among those who work in places with smoking areas, or where there are no restrictions in place.

"Changing the partial ban on tobacco consumption in bars and restaurants for a total ban would have beneficial effects on the health of all the workers in this sector", said Esteve Fernández, one of the authors of the study and a researcher at the ICO.

The results confirm that 5% of waiters have stopped smoking and that, among those who continue to smoke, the number of cigarettes consumed has fallen by almost 9% (almost two cigarettes per day). In addition, levels of cotinine—a nicotine metabolite used to measure active, and especially passive, exposure to smoke—in workers’ saliva has fallen by 4.4%.

In total, 431 workers in the bar and restaurant trade were studied (half of whom were smokers) from three months before the law came into force and for a further two years afterwards. The scientists took data from five autonomous regions: Cantabria, Catalonia, Valencia, Galicia, and the Balearic Islands.

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