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Cigarette sales fall 32 percent since ban

Treasury reports more than 32 percent sales less last month than December

Tobacco sales last month fell by more than 32 percent compared to December, according to government figures, after Spain's new anti-smoking law took effect on January 2.

For the first time, the number of packets sold in one month dropped under the 200-million benchmark to 194,770,461 in January, figures from the Treasury's Tobacco Industry Commission reveal.

The sudden declines took the National Smoking Prevention Committee (CNPT) by surprise, which had expected falls between four to five percent since the ban on smoking in public places went into effect.

Rodrigo Córdoba, CNPT spokesman, said that among the factors for the sudden drops is that many bars and restaurants have gotten rid of the cigarette vending machines.