Local anti-smoking policies withstand tobacco industry challenges

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Implementing comprehensive smoking bans at the national level is a challenge in many countries due to the effective lobbying efforts of the tobacco industry. But the successful implementation and enforcement of a 100% smoke-free policy in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina, serves as evidence that local governments can withstand tobacco industry opposition and enact anti-smoking legislation.

Santa Fe is the first sub-national jurisdiction in Latin America to have enacted a comprehensive smoke-free law following the recommendations of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which provides an internationally coordinated response to addressing the global tobacco epidemic.

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1.  Sebrié EM, Glantz SA. Local smoke-free policy development in Santa Fe, Argentina. Tobacco Control 2010; 19: 110-116. (open access)

Smoking ban in bars, restaurants improved health in Argentina

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A comprehensive smoke-free law prohibiting designated smoking areas was found to protect the health of hospitality workers in Argentina, according to a study in the journal Tobacco Control. Enactment and enforcement of the smoking ban led to significant reductions in secondhand smoke exposure and respiratory symptoms.

The study was conducted in Neuquén, Argentina (population 270,000). The city enacted a 100% smoke-free ordinance, which banned cigarette smoking in all public venues and workplaces, including bars and restaurants, in November 2007.

Previous studies conducted throughout the United States and Europe have linked enactment of comprehensive smoke-free legislation with reductions in respiratory symptoms and hospital admissions due to heart attacks. But this was the first study to show the positive impact of a 100% smoke-free law in the workplace on the health of hospitality workers in Latin America, according to the authors.

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1. Schoj V, Alderete M, Ruiz E, et al. The impact of a 100% smoke-free law on the health of hospitality workers from the city of Neuquén, Argentina. Tobacco Control 2010; 19: 134-137. (open access)

Cigarette point-of-sale ads in Guatemala and Argentina

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Cigarette point-of-sale advertising is highly prevalent in the capital cities of Guatemala and Argentina, indicating that these two Latin American countries need comprehensive tobacco advertising bans that include point-of-sale restrictions. The findings are based on a study conducted in Guatemala City and Buenos Aires.

All 240 stores in the study sold cigarettes in close proximity to candy. It has been suggested that such placement encourages teenagers to see tobacco as harmless and as common as candy.

Sixty percent of stores in Guatemala and 80 percent of stores in Argentina had cigarette ads. In Guatemala, cigarettes were displayed on top of the counter in 100 percent of big stores, 54 percent of small stores and 83 percent of supermarkets. Only in gas stations, most (56 percent) cigarettes were displayed behind the counter, but still in sight. In Argentina, cigarettes were displayed on top of the counter in 90 percent of big stores and in 77 percent of small stores.

Tobacco point-of-sale advertising has been found to increase brand recognition and teenagers’ perception about the ease of purchasing cigarettes.

1. Barnoya J, Mejia R, Szeinman D, Kummerfeldt CE. Tobacco point-of-sale advertising in Guatemala City, Guatemala and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Tobacco Control 2010; 19: 338-341. (open access)