Mexican Anti-Tobacco Regulations Spark National Backlash

By: Dan Cooper

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Civil groups have disclosed that almost 2,000 amparos have been presented against the General Law for the Control of Tobacco in Mexico by restaurants, casinos, bars, convenience stores and shopping centers. This law prohibits cigarette smoke in public and private common spaces. Although the prevalence of amparos is low, only one out of ten amparos filed have been approved, according to Claudia Moreno, a lawyer from Salud Justa MX.

The General Law for Tobacco Control regulates that smoking is prohibited in 100% smoke-free public spaces and in other places of collective concurrence such as stadiums, squares, parks, beaches, and even hotels. As of January 15, 2023, smoking will also be prohibited in bars, restaurants and other public places that do not have an exclusive area for smokers. However, many establishments have filed injunctions on the grounds of economic damage. The organization mentioned that there has been no accurate study proving the economic damage that these establishments claim. 

Eduardo del Castillo, director of the Códice organization, has said that there is compliance with about 62% of the law in nine cities analyzed in the country up to this point. This is mainly because of the lack of official information on the legislation. He mentioned the importance of having campaigns at a federal level to have everyone aware of and defend smoke-free spaces. Javier Zúñiga, a member of the organization El Poder del Consumidor, expressed that tobacco industries utilize the same strategies that the processed food sector adopted in response to the legislation on frontal warning labeling.

Specialists in this field have invited the society to be better informed and report those spaces that do not comply with the legislation. Claudia Moreno from Salud Justa MX stated that their objective is to have 100% smoke-free spaces and that they will continue to fight for it.

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