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Outside Smoking Ban – Idea Mooted

In a statement by the Minister of Health, Marta Temido this week, she confirmed that the Government of Portugal is not currently considering banning smoking in open public spaces as in the case of Spain, but there are “many issues that require further monitoring and analysis before a decision can be made.”

The announcement comes after the Spanish Government, and the country’s regional authorities approved a measure that prohibits anyone from smoking outdoors on terraces and wherever it is not possible to maintain a two-metre distance between people.  A measure that has already been adopted by two of Spain’s autonomous regions. 

When questioned by journalists at the regular Covid-19  press conference about whether Portugal is considering adopting this measure, the Minister of Health, stated that at this moment the government is not considering adopting a similar measure. However, I am not disregarding what has happened in Spain or the recommendations of their health authorities, smoking has associated health risks and, therefore, is avoidable in any context. Yet, as as we have always said in this context of uncertainty,  there are still many unresolved issues, and therefore, we need to monitor and analyse the situation in more depth to assess whether it is necessary to implement a ban on smoking in outside public spaces. In any case, it is clear that smoking puts you at risk, therefore, our advice is, don’t smoke.”

Perhaps a little harsh for the 22.70% of Portugal’s population who enjoy a cigarette.

Samantha Gannon

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