Especially after living in California for the last 20 years, I had forgotten how much the rest of the world smoked. California is exceptional, I know, because not many people there smoke and as you move east and south in the U.S., the percentage gets higher. It isn't until you go overseas to places like Japan and China (where it seems that everyone is smoking) that you realize how good non-smokers in California have it.
Lots of people here in Spain smoke. I'd guess that the percentage is way higher than in Philadelphia but way lower than in Asia. In the past, after getting home from a night out at a restaurant or bar with friends here I'd want to burn my clothes because they'd smell so bad from all the smoke. It took some getting used to because even in Philadelphia people can't smoke in public places like restaurants. Well, that's all changed now. Since January 2nd of this year, many public places are now smoke-free!
Signs with ¨Espai lliure de fum¨, which is Catalan for ¨This space is smoke-free¨ are posted all over town now.
I have to be honest that I didn't even notice during my first night out at a restaurant. I had just gotten back from California and never even thought about it. It wasn't until I was going out for drinks with Pau to a local watering hole and I saw smokers crowded outside lighting up that it ocurred to me. Once inside, amazingly, the air was pure...or at least as pure as a smoke-free bar can be!
I'm sure that, just like when they changed the laws in the U.S., all the businesses are complaining that they'll lose money and the smokers are crying about ¨lost rights¨and whatnot. For me, though, it sure is nice that everything in Spain is non-smoking now. Spain, now new and improved...non-smoking! Just another reason to love it!