Today while having a coffee with my tandem language partner I was informed of something that made me quite happy and which surely is making many others quite unhappy. Something that I’ve noticed since arriving in Spain is that the Spanish have an intense culture of smokers. Outside of every campus building you can see social groups of people congregating and smoking while chatting with each other. There are many people smoking throughout the day but at night the smoking culture really comes to life. Step one foot inside of a bar or a club and expect to smell like smoke for the rest of the night. Naturally, if you are a smoker then you are accustomed to smelling like your habit but for those of us who don’t smoke, the overwhelming smell of second-hand smoke after a night out can sometimes be aggravating. I had come to accept this as part of the culture of Spanish nightlife but now it seems that it will all be changing with the start of the new year. The article from Diario de Navarra (click here to read it) states that the law will go into effect January 2, 2011. After the second of January it will be prohibited to smoke while in an enclosed public space, near hospital buildings and in children’s parks. I must say that I am happy that all public spaces will be smoke free for the rest of my year in Spain. However, after noticing that the vast majority of Spanish people smoke, I know that there are a lot of people who have a negative opinion about this new law. It will be interesting to see how the public will react to the new law and to see if and how things will begin to change.
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