SALES of tobacco in January came to more than 22.2 million euros, a 38 per cent increase over the same month last year, despite the tough anti-smoking laws which ban smoking in public places.
It was also higher than the average for Spain as a whole, where sales went up by 22.9 per cent.
Figures show that January was the fourth consecutive month in which sales went up after the introduction of the law.
Sales throughout Spain came to 766.8 million euros, compared to 623.45 million in January 2006, according to ministry of finance and taxation sources.
The regions with the biggest cigarette sales in January were Catalonia with 59 million packets, followed by Andalucia with 57.2 million, and Valencia with 39.6 million.
The regions with the lowest sales were La Rioja, with 1.6 million packets, Cantabria (3.9 million) and Navarre (5.7 million).
The most popular brands were Marlboro, which cornered 15.9 per cent of the market in January, followed by Fortuna, with a market share of 10.42 per cent and Chesterfield (7.77 per cent of the market).
The anti-smoking bill was pushed through by the Spanish health ministry, which wants to improve the nation's health.
The ministry has clashed with the fast food industry over high fat contents and earlier this week was forced to shelve a bill which would have limited wine advertising, in an effort to cut teen drinking.