March Sunday is part of Caja no-smoking campaign

The nation’s health professionals are organizing a march, called a caminata, against tobacco for Sunday as part of a campaign against smoking.

The campaign includes radio spots by those who suffer from illnesses caused by smoking. These start today. The campaign is a preparation for the World Day against Tobacco, which is a week from today.

The march Sunday kicks off at 8 a.m. and ends on Avenida 4 to the main office of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

The Caja said it expects physicians, nurses, technicians and former smokers to join the march against what it calls an addiction that can cause two of the illnesses that cause 50 percent of the country’s deaths each year, cancer and cirulatory problems.

Costa Rica has passed a tough anti-smoking law and has signed on to an international treaty against tobacco. But the various health agencies are not backing off the effort to eliminate smoking.

The radio spots will be 60 seconds each and present personal stories of smokers and some who have quit through the Caja’s stop-smoking clinics, said an announcement.

Monday, workers at the Caja will be invited to see a 10 a.m. videoconference that addresses strategies for prevention and intervention to stop smoking, said the Caja.

The Caja notes that smoking is one of the principal causes of death in the world and that more than 1 billion people smoke. Internationally, the World Health Organization is leading a crusade against what it says is one of the principal forms of drug addition.

The new anti-smoking legislation basically forbids smoking in offices and many public places. This is why there usually are clusters of smokers on the sidewalks outside office buildings and other workplaces. The legislation also forbids tobacco advertising and the sponsorship of public events by tobacco companies.

Cosponsoring the walk Sunday is the Instituto sobre Alcoholismo y Farmacodependencia. The event starts at the central offices of the Institute in Barrio la Granje in San Pedro.

Ironically, Costa Rica is a famed manufacturer of cigars that equal some of the better Cuban varieties.

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