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New smoking ban is a bit of a drag for tobacco makers

National growers more concerned by loss of EU subsidies

With just four days until a blanket smoking ban comes into effect in Spain, tobacco producers in Cáceres are not particularly worried about possible loss of revenue: 95 percent of Spain's tobacco is produced in the area and consumption nationwide is five times more than that, at some 42 million kilograms.

What does concern tobacco producers is the end of EU subsidies. A year ago a kilo of tobacco earned just over three euros; two euros from Brussels and 1.08 euros for its sale. Today, the same weight brings in 2.30 euros, and the burden is being felt. "It's the same amount as it costs to produce a kilo," said Tomás Sánchez Várez, president of the TAB agricultural society.

The industry employs around 20,000 people. "The math is simple," said Várez. "We have to double production to make what we made a few years ago."