The Ministry of Health has eliminated the prohibition of smoking in private spaces from its draft of the Comprehensive Smoking Prevention and Control Plan 2024-2027, thus clearing up the doubt about whether tobacco could be banned in cars. This is reflected in the definitive version of said document, to which Europa Press has had access.

This is one of the 150 proposals and amendments proposed by the autonomous communities and that have been approved by the Ministry, since, in the initial draft, mention was made of the intention to include “certain spaces in the private sphere” within of the expansion of smoke-free spaces, “especially those with the presence of minors.”

On the other hand, the measure of increasing the places “for public or collective use” where tobacco, electronic cigarettes and “related products” will be prohibited is maintained. However, it is not specified what these spaces will be, as in the previous document.

The General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) has always discouraged smoking while driving, not only for health reasons, but also to avoid distractions and the risk of accidents. Pere Navarro himself, head of this organization, warned that it represents an obvious danger.

Although this action is not explicitly prohibited in the regulations, it may be punishable. Agents can fine based on article 18.1 of the Traffic Regulations, the wording of which states that the driver “is obliged to maintain his or her own freedom of movement, the necessary field of vision and permanent attention to driving, which guarantee his or her own safety. that of the rest of the occupants of the vehicle and that of the other road users.” For this reason, he “must take special care to maintain the proper position.”

Furthermore, article 17.1 of the aforementioned regulation indicates that “drivers must be able to control their vehicles at all times.” This requires them to be able to hold the steering wheel with both hands, something difficult to do if one of them is holding a cigarette. Not to mention if they turn it on while driving.

Lighting a cigarette means not paying attention to driving for about four seconds; This means that, at a speed of 60 km/h, the motorist travels 68 meters without being fully focused on what is happening on the road; a figure that rises to 133 meters when traveling at 120 km/h on a highway.

Also related to smoking in the vehicle, it is worth remembering that it is totally prohibited to throw the cigarette butt out the window. In fact, in the last reform of the Traffic Law, the punishment for this violation was toughened, which increases the risk of causing a fire. Thus, whoever does so must pay a fine of 500 euros and lose 6 points on their license (previously 4).