El Ministerio de Sanidad, Servicios Sociales e Igualdad no tiene previsto modificar la ley del tabaco, ya que su objetivo prioritario, han informado fuentes de este Departamento, es preservar la salud de los ciudadanos
translation: The Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equal is not modifying the tobacco law, as its priority objective, sources have informed this Department is to preserve the health of citizens
In the report above, however, it does say that changing the law is not a “priority objective”, which leaves open the possibility for the law to be amended at a later date.
But it seems that Spain’s smokers were expecting the law to be changed. In a comment here yesterday, Lecroix Kwdjer wrote:
now more than ever, bars and restaurants flout the ban. And I have the two greatest sources available: bars and restaurants (and bingos/casinos) plus all the buzz in antismoker groups. Antismokers have their hands full trying to send the police to every stablishment flouting the ban. They are becoming desperate. Out of their minds. ’cause they can’t stop it. What Mr. Rajoy said before being elected, fueled not just hopes, but sheer rebellion.
I’m not living in Spain, so I don’t know what the response to this is likely to be, but I can’t imagine many people (apart from antismokers) are going to be at all happy. Rajoy gave a small hint just before the election that he thought the current ban was too extreme, and his Health Minister, Ana Mato, was reported to have a change of the law on her to-do list. What happened?
Well, it could be (as I’ve said) that changing the law isn’t an immediate priority. Or it could be that it was a cynical ploy to boost the vote of Rajoy’s Popular Party, and there never was any intention to change the law (after all, it wasn’t in the PP’s manifesto). Or it could be that, once in office, something happened to change Rajoy’s and Mato’s minds – like maybe some word from the EU that any change in the law would not be readily accepted in Brussels?
Either way, I’m not terribly surprised. But if hopes have been raised and then dashed, it will make for a lot of angry and bitter Spaniards.
P.S. El Pais.