Search

 

Cablegate: Spain's New Tobacco Control Law Clears First Hurdle

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

261512Z Apr 05

UNCLAS MADRID 001618

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR OES/IHA AND EUR/WE; DEPARTMENT ALSO PASS TO
ESTH COLLECTIVE; HHS FOR OS/OGKA/BUDASHEWITZ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SOCI SP
SUBJECT: SPAIN'S NEW TOBACCO CONTROL LAW CLEARS FIRST HURDLE

REF: MADRID 286

1. Spain's tough new tobacco control law was approved by the
nation's Council of Ministers April 22 and forwarded to the
lower house of Congress, where it is expected to be approved
before Spain shuts down for the summer. The law (see reftel
for complete details) bans all tobacco advertising (as
required by EU Directive 2003/33), prohibits smoking in
public and private workplaces, and greatly limits smoking in
other public places.

2. The Council of Ministers resisted union pressure to alter
the draft law submitted by the Health Ministry to allow for
the creation of limited and regulated smoking zones in public
and private workplaces. Indeed, the Council made relatively
few changes to the Health Ministry draft. The major new
element in the bill sent to Congress was the delineation of
proposed fines, which had been left out of the Health
Ministry proposal. In this regard, the Council of Ministers
disappointed many anti-tobacco activists by opting for
relatively small fines.

3. The draft bill sent to Congress imposes a maximum 30 euro
fine on individuals who smoke in prohibited areas. The draft
sets minimum 600 euro, maximum 10,000 euro fines for
establishments that permit smoking in areas where it
prohibited or those that sell tobacco to minors. The most
serious fines (between 10,000 and 600,000 euros) are reserved
for those who violate the tobacco advertising prohibition.

4. Most observers believe the bill will be approved by
Congress and become the law of the land on January 1, 2006.
The former ruling People's Party (PP) has criticized the bill
as "excessively restrictive" and has urged less focus on
punishing current smokers and more emphasis on preventing the
young from beginning to smoke.

5. COMMENT: Anti-smoking forces are pleased the government
held firm on the workplace smoking ban but annoyed that the
proposed fines appear low. With this law, Spain will stop
being a permissive "outlier" and will join many of its EU
partners in ratcheting up pressure on smokers. Of course, the
law will mean little if it is not enforced, and Spain has a
history of not enforcing previous efforts to restrict public
smoking. The law, as drafted, will put the burden of smoking
prohibition enforcement on regional/autonomous community
authorities and largely limit the central government's role
to enforcing the ban on tobacco advertising and sales. All
said and done, the law is a good start and, for Spain,
represents a revolutionary step to tackle one of the nation's
key public health priorities.

6. FACTS AND FIGURES ADDENDUM: media reports of the Council
of Minister's decision included some facts and figures of
potential interest that were not available when reftel was
prepared.

-- smoking is responsible for 50,000 deaths a year in Spain,
representing 16 percent of all deaths of those over the age
of 35.

-- 92,334,000,000 cigarettes were consumed in Spain in 2003,
representing 2,270 cigarettes per inhabitant.

-- Spaniards spent 9,526,000 euros on tobacco in 2003,
representing 234.38 euros per inhabitant.

-- the tobacco industry accounts for 59,400 "direct" jobs
(18,000 in growing tobacco leaf, 9,000 in transforming leaf
into tobacco products, and 32,400 in tobacco product
distribution) and 30,600 "indirect" jobs (mostly employees of
tobacco companies).

-- tobacco taxes contributed approximately six million

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Climate Change: Record Northern Heat, Fuels Concerns Over US Wildfire Destruction

More than 78,000 acres of forest in the Sierra mountains in California has been lost due to wildfires. Photo: San Francisco Fire Department The northern hemisphere experienced its warmest August ever, the World Meteorological Organization ( WMO ... More>>

UN: Guterres Condemns Killing Of Journalists, Following Beheading Of Mexican Crime Reporter

© UNESCO | International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. Following the gruesome death of a Mexican journalist specializing in crime reporting, who was found beheaded on Wednesday, UN chief António Guterres has issued a statement condemning ... More>>

UN: WHO Warns Against Potential Ebola Spread In DR Congo And Beyond

Ebola is spreading in a western province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), raising fears that the disease could reach neighbouring Republic of Congo and even the capital, Kinshasa, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. ... More>>

WWF: Living Planet Report Reveals Average Two-Thirds Decline In Wildlife Populations Since 1970

According to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020 released today, global populations* of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish have suffered an average two-thirds decline in less than half a century. The decline is due in large part to the very ... More>>