The results of a survey on adult tobacco use around the world were unveiled in Uruguay yesterday, the first country in Latin America to ban smoking in the workplace and in enclosed public spaces. The World Health Organization’s Global Adult Tobacco Survey was administered in the 15 countries with the highest number of smokers per capita, but Uruguay was included because of its government’s dedication to curbing smoking. Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez, a trained oncologist, attended.
Uruguay’s Public Health Minister María Julia Muñoz said at the ceremony that the number of people in Uruguay who smoke every day had decreased by 24 percent in the last few years. But while 48 percent of adults apparently tried to stop smoking in the past year, only 8 percent succeeded.
In addition to the bans that were passed in March of 2006, Uruguay has since fought smoking by raising cigarette prices and requiring cigarette advertisements to devote half of their ad space to publicizing the dangers of smoking. Other Latin American countries, including Brazil and Colombia, have also banned smoking in indoor public places in the past year.
The forthcoming issue of Americas Quarterly—to be released on February 17—will unveil a statistical snapshot of the degree to which countries in the hemisphere are smoke free and the corresponding smoking prevalence among adults.
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Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.