Dear President Rajoy:
We write this letter in support of maintaining the smoke-free legislation currently in place in Spain. We are academic researchers in the field of tobacco control. Although none of us live in Spain, we know and recognize the tremendous efforts made by Spain in recent years to achieve legislation for completely smoke-free public places.
In 2006, Spain was one of the first European countries to implement a tobacco control law covering most workplaces and public places. While the initial legislation had important exceptions in bars, pubs, taverns, and restaurants, the law was changed to a total ban with no exceptions in 2011 –in agreement with the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), signed and ratified by Spain. Under Article 8 of the FCTC, Spain has obligations to protect the public from exposure to tobacco smoke.
Spain has obligations to protect the public from exposure to tobacco smoke
Thus, the Spanish smoke-free legislation is essential for several reasons. First, the current legislation represents a major advance for protecting all people from the health effects of secondhand tobacco smoke exposure, with no distinctions based on geography or work-status. Scientific studies from Spain have shown a reduction in secondhand tobacco smoke exposure and also, consequently, a reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. There have already been health benefits of the legislation.
Second, the comprehensive smoke-free legislation is essential for tourism. Clean indoor air in casinos, restaurants, bars, and other entertaining venues contributes to the quality of life and satisfaction of visitors to Spain. Only a minority of adults are smokers and nonsmokers do not want to breath smoke-polluted air. Smoking in those settings is not what tourists desire when they travel to Spain. Third, the current Spanish smoke-free law is one of the most advanced legislations in the world. The Spanish successful model has been recognized by the international public health community as an example of good practice, and its example has helped other countries to improve their laws.
We have the scientific duty to warn you that a regressive change in the current Spanish smoke-free legislation would be a shortsighted initiative with long-term negative consequences for the health and the economy of Spain, and for global tobacco control. We encourage you to bet on health and maintain the Spanish smoke-free legislation.
Amanda Amos, professor, Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh
Joaquin Barnoya, assistant professor, Division of Public Health Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis
Patrick Breysse, professor, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Simon Chapman, professor, School of Public Health, University of Sidney
Luke Clancy, professor, TobaccoFree Research Institute Ireland
Joanna Cohen, director, Institute for Global Tobacco Control, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, professor, Centro de Estudos sobre Tabaco e Saúde, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz
Karl Fagerström, Fagerström Consulting AB, Sweden
Geoffrey Fong, professor, University of Waterloo & Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
Silvano Gallus, associate researcher, IRCCS – Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri
Anna Gilmore, professor, UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, University of Bath
Gary Giovino, professor, School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo; SUNY
Stan Glantz, professor, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California San Francisco
Giuseppe Gorini, epidemiologists, Istituto Scientifico Prevenzione Oncologica (CSPO)
Eliseo Guallar, professor, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Katharine Hammond, professor, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
Lisa Henriksen, senior research scientist, Stanford University School of Medicine
Nino Künzli, professor, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel
Carlo La Vecchia, professor, Department of Epidemiology, IRCCS – Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri
Johan Mackenbach, professor, Department of Public Health, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Martin McKee, professor, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Sylvia Medina, associate researcher, French Institute for Public Health Surveillance
Hanns Moshammer, researcher, Institute of Environmental Health, Medical University Vienna
Marcus Munafò, professor, UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, University of Bristol
Thomas Novotny, professor, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University
Laura Perez Grau, researcher, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel
John P. Pierce, professor, Population Sciences, University of California San Diego
José Precioso, assistant professor, Universidade do Minho
James Repace, Repace Associates Inc.
Jon Samet, professor, USC Institute for Global Health, University of Souther California
Nick Schneider, Board of Directors, Human Rights and Tobacco Control Network
Stan Shatenstein, editor, Smoking & Tobacco Abstracts & News
Ernesto Sebrié, associate director, International Research, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Sean Semple, senior lecturer, University of Aberdeen
Constantine Vardavas, senior research scientist, Harvard School of Public Health
Melanie Wakefield, professor, Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Cancer Council Victoria, Australia
Alistair Woodward, professor, School of Population Health, University of Auckland
*The views expressed in this letter represent individual researchers and do not necessarily reflect the position of their institutions
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