June 7, 2010 - A day before World No Tobacco Day, federal authorities launched a mini-assault on Guadalajara establishments that have yet to fall in line with laws governing smoking in public places.
Background: Mexican lawmakers voted in February 2008 to ban smoking in bars, restaurants and other enclosed public spaces across the country, which counts some 65,000 cigarette-related deaths each year. (Mexico to ban smoking in eateries, public spaces, Reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez; Writing by Catherine Bremer, editing by Patricia Zengerle, Reuters, 2/27/2008)Six establishments were affected by Federal Commission for the Protection of Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) raids on Sunday, May 30. The popular “Chess” nightclub on Lopez Mateos was temporarily closed as well as parts of the Casino Gran Nevada and the bar area of the “La Matera” restaurant. Two Oxxo’s and one Seven-Eleven in the city center were also fined.
The General Law for Tobacco Control will prohibit smoking in closed public spaces and violations will be punished with up to 36 hours of jail time. In addition, fines up to the equivalent of 100 to 10,000 minimum wage days [a common way of calculating fines in Mexico] and the temporary or permanent closing of businesses violating the law will be applied. For repeat offenders, the fine can go up to 1 million pesos.
The law also establishes new regulations for tobacco-related advertising, which from now on may only appear in publications geared toward adults or in places where only adults are allowed to enter, such as bars and nightclubs. (Mexico to Go Tobacco Free by Maegan La Mala, Vivirlatino.com, 2/26/2008.
Although some business owners complained about the economic impact of such closures, the laws are still poorly enforced, and many bars and restaurants do not have separate smoking areas.
Speaking on World No Tobacco Day, May 31st council officials said 3,200 deaths a year are caused by tobacco-related causes. Meanwhile, figures from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey show Mexico to have 10.9 million smokers, or 15.9 percent of the population – 8.1 million of which are men and 2.8 million women.
Reference: 16% of Mexicans hooked on tobacco, guadalajarareporter.com, 6/4/2010.