Spain’s Asociación Española contra el Cáncer (Aecc) has called for a total ban on smoking in Malaga’s Calle Marqués de Larios so that the iconic shopping street, and the main setting for the city’s famous Christmas lights display, becomes a smoke-free space.
This demand is part of a special campaign that will collect signatures to call for various emblematic sites in Spain to be freed from tobacco smoke, such as the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, the Parque del Retiro in Madrid, the Ciudad de las Artes in Valencia, the Lagunas de Ruidera in Ciudad Real, the Plaza de Santa María in Jaén, the walls of Ávila, the beaches of Gijón, the Ciutadella park in Barcelona, the Espolón de Logroño, the gardens of the Alcázar in Segovia and Malaga’s Calle Larios. The association's objective is to get the measure extended to other open spaces such as terraces, beaches, parks and gardens.
The campaign, which is being carried out to mark World No Tobacco Day on 31 May, will aim to collect signatures that will later be presented to the municipalities and also serve as a reminder to urge the Government to speed up the expansion of the Anti-Tobacco Law that is already going through parliamentary proceedings. Ultimately, the Aecc wants the current Law to be extended to protect the population in general and minors in particular, so that tobacco smoke is eliminated in common public spaces.
In the case of Malaga, the Aecc calls "to free the most emblematic street, the nerve centre of the city, one of the most important commercial arteries in Spain and a meeting point for hospitality businesses, the economic, cultural and social life of the city from smoke". And it points out that Calle Larios “is the gateway to the historic centre of Malaga for the tens of thousands of tourists and cruise passengers who visit the city every year. It is also where the people of Malaga celebrate their most important festivals and traditions with Carnival, Easter, the Fair and Christmas”.
In the opinion of the Aecc, declaring Calle Larios a smoke-free space would put the city at the forefront of the fight against tobacco, as other capitals are already doing. “The Spanish Association Against Cancer is aware of the difficulty that its proposal entails, facing similar objections to those that happened when the street’s pedestrianisation was first proposed.”
According to data from the Aecc Cancer Observatory, the number of smokers in Malaga province amounts to 298,025 people, which represents 21 per cent of the population. Some 17 per cent are former smokers (243,006 people); another 3 per cent are occasional smokers (40,297 people) while 59 per cent have never smoked.
"From this it follows that the decision of 21% of the population to smoke prevails over the right to have a smoke-free space for the rest of society," concludes the Asociación Española contra el Cáncer.