98 percent of bar owners complying with anti-smoking rules, says study

In addition to the high compliance rates, the vast majority of bargoers report they spend the same amount on a night out as they did before the ban. Landlords, however, say they notice a drop

One month after the new anti-smoking law came into force, only 1.6 percent of establishments are allowing their customers to smoke, according to a study published by international market research company GfK.

Five thousand bars, restaurants, cafés, pubs and nightclubs of the 350,000 that exist in Spain are failing to comply with the law on either a regular or sporadic basis, the study found. More than 98 percent are complying.

Researchers interviewed 750 landlords for the investigation, initially posing as customers to observe if anyone lit up a cigarette on the premises. They also consulted people in 1,000 homes.

According to the survey, only five percent of bar-goers said they had visited at least one establishment where a client was smoking, while 90 percent said they now spent the same amount in a bar as before the law was applied at the start of January. One-and-a-half percent said they now spent more. GfK attributed the increase as much to people setting out to give up smoking as to non-smokers who hated smelling like an ashtray after going for a drink. "Two out of three non-smokers are annoyed when someone smokes next to them," said Gerardo Montoro, director of the study.

People are now noticing other smells that the smoke used to camouflage, like toilets and sweat
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Three out of four bar owners said they noticed that sales were down, while five percent think they need to organize themselves to combat the law.

Another consequence of the law is that in 15 percent of establishments people are now noticing other smells that the smoke used to camouflage, ranging from fried food and the plumbing to toilets and sweat.

Meanwhile, Andalusia's regional government has told a Marbella bar owner that he could face a

145,000-euro fine and the closure of his business if he continues to flout the tobacco ban.

José Eugenio Arias, owner of the Asador de Marbella, defied the threat, however, promising to continue the crusade against the law that he led at the start of the year.

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