Anti-smoking law takes effect in Chile

A tough anti-smoking law took effect on Monday across Chile to ban tobacco advertising and drastically reduce smoking in public places.

Under the law, even at points of sale, tobacco companies cannot use posters bigger than two meters by one meter, and must carry a warning about the health risks posed by smoking.

The law prohibits smoking in schools, hospitals, government offices, stadiums, buses and other public places.

Bars are required not to permit customers aged under 18 to smoke. Smoking will also be restricted in restaurants, with large eateries given until May 2007 to create fully partitioned nonsmoking sections.

Smaller restaurants can choose between going all-nonsmoking or upgrading their ventilation systems.

The law demands that all work-places with more than 10 employees be made nonsmoking and that smaller work-places must vote on the issue.

The law also stipulates that cigarette packages must dedicate at least 50 percent of their surface to health warnings, and that no shop can sell tobacco within 100 meters of a school or advertise tobacco within 300 meters of a school.

Chileans who defy the law are liable to fines of between 30 U.S. dollars and 60 dollars.

Some 14,000 Chileans die each year from smoking-related diseases, out of a total population of 15.5 million. Around 42 percent of Chileans smoke, according to Chile's Health Ministry.

Source: Xinhua

People's Daily Online ---