For as long as we can remember, lighting up a cigarette on one of Spain's beaches was seen on a regular basis. So why are people now asking the question can you smoke on Spanish beaches?
You can not smoke on Spanish beaches as it was passed by law on the 23rd December 2021 by the Spanish government. Anyone caught smoking on a Spanish beach can face a fine of up to €2,000.
For those living in the UK, Brexit has brought with it a new set of rules and regulations that did not apply when the UK was part of Europe. This new "no smoking on the beaches law" was however brought in by the Spanish government and has nothing to do with Brexit rules.
It is however more complex that may first seem. It isn't a blanket ban as the new law has passed down to the various municipalities in Spain, the power to bring this law into action. Some have already introduced this ban and it is likely others will follow.
As it stands right now the enactment of this law is still a tad sketchy depending on which region of Spain you are going to.
The Canary Islands and Barcelona
The Canary Islands which include Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Cran Canaria, La Palma, La Gomera, La Graciosa and El Hierro have already banned smoking on public beaches.
Barcelona with beaches such as Sant Miquel, Somorrostro, Nova Icaria and Nova Mar Bella have introduced the ban.
They join Sardinia in Italy and some Southern regions of France as being the first to introduce such bans.
Caló des Moro was the first "smoke-free" beach in San Antonio.In Menorca smokers have to resist in Binissafuller and Platja Gran.
Other Regions of Spain
Many of Catalonia’s beaches have banned smoking, all the way up to the Costa Brava.
The Galicia region has the most smoke free beaches including those popular ones of Santa Cristina in Oleiros, A Rapadoira in Foz, and Silgar in Sanxenxo.
Murcia has a number of smoke free beaches as does Andalusia.
In the Balearic islands, Mallorca has around 9 smoke free beaches and in Ibiza there are also a couple of smoke free beaches.
These are changing all the time and will we believe eventually roll out to all of the beaches on Spain.
Why have Spain Introduced a Smoking Ban on Their Beaches?
You will not be surprised to hear that this is a bid to clean up pollution on their 3,000 miles of coastline. Cigarette butts contain non-biodegradable plastic polymer which doesn't degrade and are harmful to water and also if swallowed by sea life.
This along with the outbreak of Covid, where the virus can be spread by moisture particles has quickened up the ban. It was something that the Spanish government always wanted to introduce, but Covid brough the urgency forwards.
Have Spain Banned Smoking in Other Places?
It is more bad news for smokers. As a result of the Covid spread, Spain banned smoking in outdoor public places where it isn't possible to maintain a social distance of 6 feet. That rule meant that in Spain you can not smoke indoors in a restaurant or cafe. Now you can not smoke at the outdoor seating areas either. That was banned under Covid regulations and is now considered as being normal.
2024 update - this rule has now been stopped mainly due to the relaxation of Covid rules. You can now smoke outdoors in most cafes, bars and restaurants.
It's worth noting though that the Health Minister for Spain is attempting to get smoking banned through legislation. She is currently in the process of trying to get her bill read in parliament.
Spain Smoking Summary for UK Travelers
- Due to Brexit you can only bring back 200 cigarettes to the UK - check out our smoking allowances for UK citizens
- You can now smoke outdoors at most cafes and restaurants
- You can no longer smoke on all Spanish beaches
If you have been in Spain you will notice that smoking in open places is more popular than you will find in many other countries including the UK. Around 24% of Spanish people smoke compared to just under 15% in the UK.
Despite the higher number of smokers, the Spanish people generally accept that this is a good rule, and worth having.
Non-smokers will of course welcome this as it will mean smoke free and of course cleaner beaches. It will also mean not having to sit beside smokers in outdoor terraces.
Many local Spanish smokers have reacted angrily on Social Media. UK travelers so far have been quiet. Mainly that is down to the limited travel at the moment. That may well change when travel gets back to normal, and they suddenly realise that smoking in Spain is now limited in many areas.
For smokers from the UK, the allure of Spain's sunshine coasts will greatly diminish. In days gone past, they could buy 20 cigarettes for around €5 and sit and have a beer or a coffee and enjoy a smoke. Those days have now gone so we envisage UK travelers choosing a different destination than Spain.