The Ministry of Health wants beaches and terraces free of tobacco.

The Ministry of Health wants beaches and terraces free of tobacco.
The Ministry of Health wants beaches and terraces free of tobacco.

  • 25% of Spaniards smoke and 95% of those who tried to quit last year did not receive public aid.
  • Doctors call for smoking cessation treatments and a regulatory push to reduce tobacco use.

The deputy director for Public Health Surveillance, Araceli Arnáez Arce, wants to stop smoking on beaches, café terraces and all hospital complexes across the country.

In addition to increasing the number of places where smoking is forbidden, this head of the Ministry has expressed her “concern” for the new tobacco derivatives and has stated that “they are harmful to health, dangerous for young people and their use must be discouraged”.

Arnáez took part in a round table discussion on smoking, in which politicians and doctors have agreed on the need to overcome the “stagnation” of anti-smoking measures and move forward in the creation of new smoke-free areas such as beaches and terraces, to provide a new impetus in the fight against tobacco consumption.

Participants at the conference rejected that new tobacco products, such as electronic cigarettes contribute any benefit to anti-smoking strategies. The representatives of PSOE, Podemos and Ciudadanos in attendance at the debate, also rejected the new products, which they equate with conventional tobacco, saying that they are open to financing formulas for tobacco cessation treatments.

The spokesman for the PSOE, Jesús María Fernández, said that new legislation should go even further by removing tobacco from sporting venues and vehicles.

Mae de la Concha of Podemos said that despite the laws, 25% of Spaniards smoke and in prisons tobacco consumption is as high as 70%. She said that 95% of people in Spain who tried to quit smoking last year, did not receive any public aid or funded treatments.

Doctors who attended the conference spoke of the enormous impact that tobacco has on health, defending the financing of treatments to stop smoking, as well as a new regulatory legislation to reduce tobacco consumption.

Esther Holgado, an oncologist at the Ramón y Cajal Hospital in Madrid, warned of the increase in tobacco consumption amongst women stating that, if the situation is not reversed in Spain, one person in six will die from the effects of tobacco by 2030, a product that is currently responsible for around 50,000 deaths annually.

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