BALEARIC Health Minister, Vicenç Thomas, said yesterday that he would like to see smoking banned in all public places but said that it needs to be the Central Government in Spain which should take the lead in toughening the law.

Speaking yesterday after presenting the Balearic Islands' contingency plans to confront the spread of swine flu, the Minister said that ideally Spain should be at the same level as other European countries in the fight against smoking, such as the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany where smoking is banned in all public places, including all bars and restaurants.

Thomas was alluding to comments yesterday morning by Spain's Health Minister, Trinidad Jimenez in which she claimed that society is now “mature enough” for the national government to ban smoking in all public places. Thomas said he felt it important that measures were toughened because the law “has a responsibility to 75 percent of the population which doesn't smoke.” The Minister said he had already voiced his support to his counterpart in Madrid about the introduction of a total ban but added that it is a move that would have to be made right across the country. “People wouldn't understand that they could smoke in a bar in Extremadura but not in the Balearics,” he claimed.


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