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By Jason Moore Hidden away in the Spanish newspapers yesterday was a story which rather caught my eye; sales of cigarettes increased in the first two months of this year by 15 percent. Amazing when you take into account that Spain has introduced tough new anti-smoking laws. So rather than reducing the number of people with the “terrible habit” they have infact increased. Now, Spain is my sort of country; legislation is introduced and then everyone works around the law. It is a good system because you can still smoke in all bars and restaurants and now even shops in tourists area (which is the whole of the Balearics if you want to push the point) will be able to sell cigarettes. Not bad for a country which introduced some of the toughest anti-smoking legislation in Europe! So why is Spain continuing to smoke; well cigarettes are overall still relatively cheap and no-one has really got the message that smoking can kill. The other-day I was talking to a nurse (while having a cigarette!) and I asked her why didn´t she take any notice of all the medical evidence against smoking; she replied, “the majority of doctors I know smoke and all this legislation has been brought in by politicians who all smoke as well.” Fair point. It reminds me of that old joke; “if you smoke less than your doctor you are fine.” So what can Spain do to reduce smoking? Not alot. People are going to continue to smoke whatever happens eventhough they can no longer smoke in offices and public buildings. Perhaps the new legislation was a good thing and there is now a balance. You can continue to smoke but only in given areas and you can always smoke outside.