Saturday, 23 October 2010

Spain bans smoking, but rebels resist

Spain will ban smoking from 2 January next year both in bars and workplaces and in some outdoor areas as well.

But although the mainstream media sings its usual song, there is another form of reporting represented by Spiked. Here we learn of a rebel group, Club Fumidores por la Tolerancia, with their slogan Prohibido Prohibir (forbidden to forbid), dating from 1995: not three publicans like we had in the UK (and Scotland didn't manage any), but an organised group with 100,000 members. I am going to add its blog to the blogroll here (my computer managed to translate it to English so it can't be difficult). The group's introduction states that they believe conflicts between groups such as smokers and non-smokers can be resolved through negotiation.

Spiked has a history of publishing anti-ban posts. This one points out that the move to ban smoking in Spain runs against the national grain: smoking is still popular with some of Spain's rulers and the smoking rate is still going up. Passive smoking, it says, can be expressed as a metaphor: smoking offends people who don't like to see the social enjoyment associated with smoking. Smoking is being banned in Spain as a political gesture, because it is expected of all countries.

Thankfully Prohibo Prohibir sets out to articulate another view. People are capable of negotiating public space and indeed such negotiation is the way ahead. You can support the group on Facebook.

No comments: