The new national law on smoking is due to come into force in 2023. | Marcelo Sastre

The current ban on smoking on bar and restaurant terraces in the Balearics is still governed by Covid regulations; its intention was to prevent the spread of the virus where there were gatherings of people. The Balearic government opted for this ban, but it has never been a permanent one. However, it is moving closer to be permanent.

The Spanish public health commission is in the process of finalising the comprehensive smoking prevention and control plan 2022-2025. This includes a new national law on smoking, which is due to be approved before the end of this year and which will come into force in 2023.

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Within the framework of this law, it is expected that regional governments will be able to introduce their own measures. In submissions for the drafting of the plan, the Balearic health authorities have pressed the case for a ban on smoking on terraces. Catalonia is a region that agrees with the Balearics, and it is anticipated that both will enforce a ban under the new law (there could well be other regions who do this as well).

As to a ban on smoking on beaches, the Balearic director-general for public health, Maria Antònia Font, points out that beaches come under town hall jurisdiction. While no-smoking beaches have been created, she explains that town hall powers don't extend to fines. It is therefore more a recommendation than a prohibition; for now, anyway.

However, an alternative approach is to apply regulations regarding waste. Barcelona, for example, has banned smoking on beaches through enforcement of these regulations.