Mexico now bans smoking in hotels, beaches, parks, and all other public spaces — one of the world’s strictest laws of its kind.
The General Law for Tobacco Control reform, which took effect on Sunday, also prohibits businesses from promoting, advertising, or sponsoring tobacco products, including putting them on display for sale. The law expands a 2008 ban on smoking in bars, restaurants, and workplaces. Similar restrictions will fall on e-cigarettes and vaping.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus applauded the policy.
“Bravo Mexico!” he said on Twitter. “WHO welcomes such a bold move on tobacco control. We call on all countries to strengthen No Tobacco policies and help us prevent 8 million deaths every year!”
An estimated 142 million people use tobacco products in the Americas. Of those, 122 million are smokers, with 1 million dying per year — “one death every 34 seconds,” a WHO website notes.
In Mexico, 10% of deaths — 63,000 per year — are attributable to the use of tobacco and exposure to its smoke, according to the WHO’s Pan American Health Organization.
“This amendment represents a historic step forward for Mexico in its anti-smoking policies and reaffirms its role as one of the leaders in the fight against tobacco in the world,” Dr. Cristian Morales Fuhrimann, PAHO’s representative in Mexico, said in a statement when the law was passed last month.
Ireland, Greece, Hungary, and Malta have similarly strict restrictions in place.
Not everyone in Mexico was happy. Some called the law draconian, given that it basically relegates smoking to private homes, while others questioned whether it would be enforceable at all.