The federal government is planning to ban smoking in a range of public places including beaches, parks and stadiums.
A presidential decree that would alter the General Law for Tobacco Control and consequently increase regulations on smoking is currently being prepared, the newspaper El Universal reported Tuesday.
President López Obrador has already signed a draft version of the decree, which the Health Ministry sent to the National Commission for Regulatory Improvement for review.
The document outlines the government’s intention to prohibit smoking in “spaces of collective gathering” for “reasons of public interest and social interest.”
Such spaces include publicly accessible courtyards, terraces, balconies, amusement parks, playgrounds and other places where children gather, urban parks, sports centers, beaches, event centers, stadiums, shopping centers, markets, hotels, hospitals, places of worship, areas where food and beverages are served and public transit stops.
The draft decree lists all those places and more even though smoking is already banned in many of them.
The government’s plan to alter the General Law for Tobacco Control comes just three months after a revised version of the same law was promulgated.
The updated law established workplaces, schools, public access areas, sporting and entertainment facilities and public transit as 100% smoke-free areas and placed a ban on tobacco company advertising and sponsorship.
The proposed decree would expressly prohibit tobacco advertising and sponsorship in direct and indirect ways such as product placement. It would cover all advertising mediums including social media, streaming services, television, film, radio, newspapers, magazines, flyers and billboards.
If enacted, the decree would also outlaw products that people – especially children – can use to mimic smoking such as candy and chocolate cigarettes.
In the draft document, López Obrador justified the decree by arguing that tobacco addiction is a chronic disease and that 80% of smokers start using tobacco before the age of 18. He pointed out that smoking causes cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses as well as cancer.
Citing the expense of treating such illnesses and the loss of human capital in the labor market due to disease and death, López Obrador also said that smoking has an enormous monetary cost.
It is unclear when the presidential decree might be issued, but it would take effect a day after its publication in the government’s official gazette.
Meanwhile, López Obrador on Tuesday – World No Tobacco Day – signed a decree prohibiting the circulation and sale of electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices.
“There is no healthy dose of tobacco,” he told reporters at his regular news conference. “It’s invariably harmful. It’s one of the products that is most clearly harmful to health.”
With reports from El Universal