PAHO Praises Brazilian Anti-Smoking Law

The new law will make Brazil the largest country in the world to declare all workplaces and indoor public spaces 100 percent smoke-free, according to the Pan American Health Organization.

The Pan American Health Organization, a regional arm of WHO, praised a law enacted Dec. 15, 2011, by the Brazilian government that prohibits smoking in all enclosed, collective-use spaces, both public and private. It was signed by President Dilma Rousseff and will make Brazil the largest country in the world to declare all workplaces and indoor public spaces 100 percent smoke-free, according to PAHO.

The organization says 14 countries in the Americas have taken this step since 2005, including Uruguay, Colombia, Panama, Guatemala, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Argentina, Peru, Honduras, Venezuela, Ecuador, and El Salvador. Canada has laws in place that restrict smoking significantly.

"Tobacco consumption is the main contributor to heart attacks, stroke, cancers and other chronic diseases that are now epidemic throughout our hemisphere," said PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses. "Our countries are increasingly recognizing that tobacco control is a matter of life and death."

PAHO said beyond prohibiting smoking in enclosed, collective-use spaces, Brazil's new law bans tobacco advertising at the point of sale, raises taxes on tobacco products, and increases the required size of health warnings that must be included on both sides of cigarette packages.

PAHO was established in 1902 and works with all of the countries of the Americas to improve public health and quality of life.

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