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Warning to smokers: Don't light up in public places when traveling through Spain anymore. Yesterday the country enacted a ban on smoking in enclosed public spots, including restaurants and bars. So you won't get a chance to partake in the old smoky tapas bar tradition during your visit.
If you get caught puffing away, it will cost you; a first-time offense carries a $40 fine, and repeat offenders will have to cough up as much as $134,000 after the third strike. However, enclosed spots aren't the only places where where your pack of cigs and lighter are prohibited. You also can get slapped with a fine for smoking in some outdoor areas as well, including playgrounds and near hospitals.
This is a big change for the formerly haze-filled country, which was one of the few last remaining Western European nations to allow smoking in public places. Plus, according to the Christian Science Monitor, government officials estimate that 35 percent of residents above 16 are regular smokers.
What are made in Germany, exported from Gibraltar, only used at 35,000 feet and sold onboard Ryanair and bmibaby flights? That's rightthey're Smokeless Cigarettes, designed to satisfy the cravings of heavy-smoking airline passengers who can't go without for more than a few hours and are willing to pony up 6 Euro for a box of ten substitute sticks.
We first announced that Ryanair was bringing the Similar brand Smokeless ciggies onboard back in September, and we finally had a chance to hop a flight and purchase a pack ourselves.
So what are they and how do they work? Find out after the jump!
For travelers who want to sit in a café without the health risk of passive smoking, we pointed out last year on our worldwide smoking ban map that most of Europe is smoke-free, but there was an odd exception: the beautiful Swiss city of Geneva.
A legal loophole meant that the attempt to ban smoking in public places failed and smokers were able to continue lighting up all over Geneva. But now that very opportunity has been, well, extinguished. Geneva held a referendum on Sunday and a whopping 81.77% of locals supported a ban on public smoking across the region.
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Well, we didn't have to wait very long for Ryanair to think up another crazy and controversial money-making scheme. Want to know what it is this time, now that they've already talked up paying to pee? Wait for it...wait for it...it's smoking on the plane!
That's right, one of the top behavioral rules of modern day air travel is being turned on its head by Ryanair, who are piloting the idea with their own brand of "Smokeless Cigarettes." What kind of crap are they trying to pull, exactly? Well, it seems that Ryanair took a survey of their passengers, according to USA Today, and found that some 24,000 professed an interest in smoking during flights. It did not however specify how many passengers were surveyed; 24,000 could be like a very low percentage, we have no idea.
We've been tracking new smoking bans the past few months, as India, Kenya and Niger all stubbed out cigarettes. So to help keep track of where you won't find smoky cafes and cloudy bus terminals, we've put together a Worldwide Smoking Ban Map.
As it stands now, your best bet for a tobacco-free trip is in Europe, where many countries prohibit puffing. But the former British Empire is also a good choice, with Bermuda, Hong Kong and Singapore on the map along with Kenya and India.
Any countries we missed? Let us know.
Worldwide smoking bans continue to menace kayaks as the hot newness, and this time it's India that's stubbing out cigs in all bars and offices--and even in public places like bus stops. The ban goes into effect tomorrow.
Of India's 1.2 billion people, an estimated 250 million smoke, and health authorities are worried more might light up as the country's middle class grows. But the 200 rupee ($4.25) fine for rule breakers won't be stopping at least one smoker the UK Times spoke with:
The authorities aren't organised enough to prevent people smoking. I'll pay a bribe if they try to stop me. Or perhaps I'll just stay at home.
People caught lighting up in public places or on public transport can be fined anywhere from $10 to more than $2,000, and jail sentences are apparently also on the table. Businesses that let patrons smoke can have their licenses revoked.
The BBC reports that there may be a little bit of a de facto grace period for puffers in the country since the government has only now decided to start enforcing the ban, which was originally approved in 2006.
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Is the wind in the Windy City a little clearer these days? Two and a half years after the City Council passed a "public places" smoking ban, residents are pleased overall--even if the ban has had some unintended consequences.
Kenya is the latest country to join the no-smoking bandwagon, with an stringent anti-tobacco law that went into effect this week. The government's ban on butts is so strict, residents can't even puff in parks, private cars or their own homes.
The new rules require smokers to stick to sealed and ventilated rooms, so unless a house is equipped, it's technically out of bounds. For those hangers-on, the government has established a few outdoor "smoking zones" that draw clusters of smokers, eager to avoid fines of up to $46,000. (That's not for the first offense!)
Also included in the new tobacco control legislation is a ban on sales of single cigarettes, designed to keep lower-income Kenyans from lighting up. One vendor in Narobi told the BBC that his sales of loosies had indeed dropped off--but that people were just buying packs instead.