March 3, 2011 - CARACAS -- Venezuela’s Ministry of Health has annulled by decree an anti-smoking law which would have prohibited smoking in public places and offices of work a day after it was published. By contrast to the US, Canada, Europe and Asia, Venezuela is one of the few countries that still allowed smoking in a wide variety of public places, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and stadiums.
A day after the anti-smoking law was printed in the Official Gazette, the annulment resolution was published in the Official Gazette. All laws must be published in the government's Official Gazette to be official. The text read: “to declare the absolute annulment of the resolution of environments free of smoke identified by number 014 and the date of February 24.” No motive or explanation was given for the sudden annulment.
Sources at the Ministry of Health have not given out any official or non official statements as to the reasons for annulling a law which, in addition to banning smoking, would have mandated the obligatory posting of signs indicating: “This is an environment 100% free of tobacco smoke by resolution of the Ministry of Popular Power for Health.”
It wasn't until 2005 that the Venezuela government forced the tobacco companies in Venezuela to print highly visible health warnings on the front of all cigarette packs with texts containing explicit evidence about the different hazards caused on the body due to tobacco consumption.
In 2007, the Venezuela Health Minister was forced to resign after causing a public uproar by saying that the country was considering banning tobacco production, comments he later retracted. Health Minister Erick Rodriguez had told a local radio station that "not even producing tobacco nor cigarettes" would be allowed under new regulations the government was contemplating, saying: "Anyone who wants a cigarette should bring it from abroad." May 15, 2007 - Venezuela to End Domestic Tobacco Output, Health Minister Says by Guillermo Parra-Bernal, Bloomberg.com, 5/25/2007)
Venezuela's tobacco industry generates thousands of jobs and is one of the biggest taxpayers in the country. According to some industry surveys, as many as half of Venezuelans smoke.
Tobacco in Venezuela..
Reference: Venezuela Cancels Smoking Ban A day after a smoking ban is promulgated, it is annulled by Mark Friedman, Latin American Herald Tribune, 3/3/2011.
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