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Brazil acts to further curb smoking with new law

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Brazil has stepped up its fight against tobacco-related diseases by tightening the tobacco control legislation that has contributed to a 300 percent drop in the number of smokers between 1989 and 2013. The new regulations are aimed at continuing this decline in a country that still has 24 million smokers – 80 percent of whom began to smoke as teenagers.

As of 3 December, smoking is banned in all of Brazil’s indoor public spaces – whether they are public, such as restaurants and bars, or private, such as residential buildings.  Smoking is still permitted in private homes, public parks, streets, open areas of soccer stadiums and in religious buildings, if it is part of a ritual ceremony.

Not all Brazilians applaud the move. The Brazilian Association of Bars and Restaurants (ABRASEL) thinks it is infringing on the rights of smokers, especially since the new law eliminates the smoking areas that were permitted under the previous law.  Premises that do not comply will be fined and may face loss of their operating licenses. However, non-compliant individuals will not be penalized.

In addition to the smokefree regulations, the law clamps down further on tobacco advertising and will require packaging to post graphic health warnings covering 100% of the back and one side of the package.

The new national law was passed three years ago, but has only now gone into effect. It supersedes any state laws. While it may stir up some controversy, its provisions are in line with proven best practices and the guidelines provided by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.