Health officials and activists to rally against tobacco today

This morning would not be a good time to step outside the legislative complex for a quick smoke. Anti-smoking activists are launching a campaign to protect children from tobacco and second-hand smoke. Health officials and citizens will be on the boulevard of the Asamblea Legislativa with music, dancing and talented youngsters, said an announcement.

Today is World No Tobacco Day, and the turnout here is to encourage the legislature to pass laws that support the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Costa Rica has accepted the treaty but has not yet passed specific laws to enforce it.

Among other actions, activists want smoking banned in public places and roofed locations. The legislation does not have a high priority.

The event begins at 9 a.m.

Tobacco control measures such as regulations on packaging
and labeling, restrictions on advertising and promotion, and bans on smoking in public places have proved highly effective in reducing tobacco consumption, health officials have said.

As a result, these measures have been actively opposed by the tobacco industry. An expert committee convened by the World Health Organization concluded in 2000 that the tobacco industry has operated for years with the express intention of subverting the role of governments in implementing public health policies to fight the tobacco use.

The framework is the first international public health treaty and was adopted by World Health member states in 2003. It contains provisions on labeling and packaging of tobacco products, smoke-free public spaces, tobacco tax increases, and restrictions on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Costa Rica ratified the treaty in 2008 but took no further action.

The treaty also calls on countries to prevent the interference of the tobacco industry and its allies in policy making and measures related to tobacco control.

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