Barcelona, ​​September 23 (EFE).- The government of Catalonia is working on a regulation to extend smoke-free spaces outdoors, including around schools or on the terraces of bars, and at the same time will offer free substitution treatments nicotine to people with incomes below 18,000 euros per year.

This was advanced by the Minister of Health, Josep Maria Argimon, in an interview with TV3, in which he admitted that since 2017 the percentage of smokers has stagnated around 23% of the population, so it is necessary to give “an impulse” from the administration to lower the numbers.

In this sense, he detailed that the Ministry of Health is preparing a regulation so that there are smoke-free outdoor spaces, among which he has listed the environments of schools, the terraces of bars and restaurants, and the canopies of stops buses, although he did not specify what penalties there would be for non-compliance.

This initiative is in line with the Global Plan to Combat Tobacco, blocked for several months at the Ministry of Health.

Argimon recalled that these measures had already been proposed by Catalonia for state regulation which has not yet prospered: “Now we can do it -from the Generalitat-, perfectly”, he estimated.

The Ministry of Health is finalizing the draft regulation to submit it to the Consell Executiu in the coming weeks, after which it will be sent to Parliament for parliamentary processing, the minister said.

Since the incidence of smoking is higher among people with fewer resources, Argimon explained that Health will also offer free nicotine replacement therapy to smokers with incomes below 18,000 euros, or approximately 600,000 people in Catalonia.

Unlike regulations on smoke-free spaces, this measure does not have to go through parliament, but only needs to be approved by the Ministry of Health and will start to be applied in January, the minister said.

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