Machines in bar and restaurants in Spain, threatened by the partial smoking ban introduced two years ago, now face a real problem.

When the current ban was put into place, bars and restaurants were able to decide for themselves whether to permit smoking. Almost all of them permitted it and the anti-smoking laws have been deemed a total failure.

The coin machine industry was forecasting a 30 per cent drop in revenues if it was forced upon location owners, but nevertheless the Spanish parliamentary commission passed a bill on Wednesday night banning smoking altogether in these locations. It brings Spain into line with many other EC countries.

The bill is expected to be passed by the Senate and into law on January 2, 2011.