By Jason Moore

IT will be interesting to see how many bars and restaurants enforce the smoking ban when it comes into force on January 2. Bars and restaurants fear that the ban will hit them hard, with more would-be diners electing to stay at home. Already, there has been a boom in outside caterers despite the recession and one of the reasons is that you can smoke in your home and don´t have to worry about drink and driving.

So call in the caterers and stay at home! At a time when most bars and restaurants are struggling I think that the government is being rather silly in introducing the ban in the middle of one of Spain´s worst recessions. It would have been a better idea to wait until more stable economic times have arrived. I also don´t understand why bars and restaurants are not allowed to have a smokers´ lounge. At least this would give bars and restaurants a slight edge. I suspect that many smokers will finally kick the habit as a result of the ban and the recent rise in tobacco prices. The government has recently increased prices, in some cases, by almost half a euro. This has led to a backlash. But in the government´s defence similar policies have also been adopted by other European nations. But it will be interesting to see how Spain deals with a complete ban.