Nasty vacation trap – this can cost you 3,000 euros

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Summer, sun and a cigarette on the beach? Your vacation could be expensive. The strict bans in Greece, Croatia, Italy and Spain.

Austrians’ desire to go on vacation remains unchallenged this year. According to an ÖAMTC survey, more than half want to spend time by the sea in the coming months, with Croatia and Italy among the top destinations.

Many people still bring a cigarette with them. But be careful: cigarettes can be expensive on vacation. Smokers are probably largely aware of the laws in this country, but what about bans in other European countries? Travelers should find out what applies in hotels, pubs and even on the beach.

In Greece, there has been a total ban on smoking in hospitals, offices, public spaces, transportation and restaurants since 2010. However, people have not been too keen to take this ban seriously, especially in bars and restaurants.

“Owners of catering establishments themselves often rebel against it. This has only changed with the government in place since 2019. Violations have been prosecuted more strictly for several years, and the number of smokers has decreased,” explains Markus Lindblad, Austria’s spokesperson for the online retailer Haypp. Those who do not comply with the smoking bans can face a fine of up to 3,000 euros.

The situation is similar in Croatia, where, for a short time, there was a complete ban on smoking in public buildings and restaurants. However, this was relaxed, and it is now permitted to smoke cigarettes indoors in restaurants under certain conditions—in some cases, even without a separate smoking area. This is hardly conceivable in Austria today.
Violations can cost up to 135 euros. Nevertheless, smoking is not prohibited on the beach in either Greece or Croatia. However, the airports in both countries are smoke-free. Guests can only light cigarettes in certain areas, even hotels or accommodations.

Italy’s situation is completely different: The smoking ban in all public buildings, offices and restaurants is taken extremely seriously here. Restaurants and bars are generally allowed to set up separate smoking areas, but the requirements are complicated and difficult to comply with.

Naples banned outdoor smoking almost ten years ago: Smoking is prohibited near children or pregnant women in public parks, demonstrations, and cultural events. Milan followed suit in 2021, and since then, the fashion metropolis has banned nicotine consumption at bus stops, cab ranks, stadiums, parks and cemeteries. Most recently, the fourth largest city in this popular vacation destination has followed suit: Smoking or vaping outdoors is now prohibited under city police regulation 221 if another person is within five meters of you.

Smoking can also be expensive on more and more beaches in Italy, including Bibione and several beaches in Sicily and Sardinia. “This refers to the entire beach promenade, except specially designated smoking areas.” Fines of up to 500 euros apply.
“The ban on cigarettes on beaches is also widespread in Spain,” adds Lindblad. In Barcelona, all beaches are smoke-free without exception, and there are further bans in Valencia, the Canary Islands and the three Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca. Otherwise, as in Italy, the following applies: no smoking in public places, in catering establishments and in front of certain buildings such as hospitals, kindergartens or schools. The amount of the fine is up to 2,000 euros.
Airports are also smoke-free in both countries. However, you can have a cigarette in Italian and Spanish hotels and accommodations in designated areas.

This can spoil the vacations of many Austrians. After all, it is difficult to completely kick the “bad habit” during this short time. “This is where substitute products such as nicotine pouches can help. This means smokers don’t have to constantly worry about the rules they must follow. Tobacco-free products can also be a less harmful option for your health. And when using alternative nicotine products, such as nicotine pouches, the people around them are not affected,” concludes Lindblad.

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