Health & Beauty
|In Mexico, Smoking Still a Major Problem|
Magnolia Velázquez - The News
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March 04, 2010
Mexico City – The Health Secretariat will reinforce its fight against tobacco addiction through determined actions, such as, printing on cigarette packs explicit messages and pictures showing the severe health damage caused by smoking. It will also increase the tax on tobacco and provide support to help smokers quit.
During the commemorative event of the fifth anniversary of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control of the World Health Organization (WHO), Health Secretary, José Ángel Córdova Villalobos stated that Mexico will not stop fighting tobacco addiction.
He added that the government will not, under any circumstance, make an agreement with the tobacco industry to relax its regulations, because it would be inappropriate to support the industry when everybody is well aware of the harmful effects of smoking.
Secretary Córdova also said that the secretariat has already “drawn the line” on the tobacco industry and “will continue to fight the consumption of tobacco.”
For this reason, he continued, Mexico became the first Latin American country to join the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and “we have been fulfilling our commitments.”
On this note, he reported that this year, Mexico will implement concrete and direct actions to fight smoking. They will also promote policies to ban all smoking-related publicity.
“We cannot let our guard down. This is a situation in which there are a lot of battles left to be fought.” He added that there are a lot of interests at stake regarding the increase of tobacco consumption, “but most of us are interested in stopping tobacco from affecting the health of Mexicans.”
Figures show that smoking is the cause of death of at least 13,400 people per day worldwide. Mexico spends 60 million pesos per year treating people suffering from smoking-related diseases.
The anti-smoking actions include increasing the tax on tobacco in the hopes of reducing its consumption, particularly among young people. The Mexican government has also put a lot of emphasis in prevention campaigns.
In regards to smoke-free environments, Secretary Córdova said that this regulation will remain unchanged in public institutions, but he acknowledged that it is not respected everywhere. As for enclosed spaces, like restaurants, health authorities will make sure that the law is not broken; they will also contribute to helping smokers quit in order to increase their quality of life and life expectancy, as smoking reduces life expectancy by at least 20 years.
Furthermore, he said that the Health Secretariat will continue implementing anti-smoking regulations in order to encourage a new health culture, “in which the main concern will be to take care of our health and everybody else’s.”
Secretary Córdova commended the government of Mexico City for promoting the Federal Legislation against smoking and becoming a national role model.
Separately, Justino Regalado, head of the National Office for Tobacco Control, said that starting Sept. 25 all packages of tobacco products will have strong and explicit pictures, as well as health messages alerting the population about the risks of consuming those products.