The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – The Government of Laura Chinchilla signed a regulation obliging tobacco companies to place prevention messages on cigarette packs.

The regulation indicates that 50% of the envelope of cigarette packs must be covered with pictograms, images and legends about the risks and health damage caused by smoke exposure.

Costa Rican Health Minister, Daisy Corrales, told a press conference that the regulation is a transitory article that gives a maximum of one year tobacco companies to comply with the order.

“The law allows us to think of a Costa Rica (that is) hundred percent smoke free. A fight that the Ministry of Health is taking directly against smoking through various strategies,” said the minister.

The regulation was signed by Corrales and the Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla.

The no-smoking law was approved in Costa Rica in March 2012 and in June following its rules went into effect, but this did not include the issue of warnings on packets.

The law prohibits smoking in public places like bars and clubs, restaurants and shopping centers, among others, and created a tax of 20 colones ($ 0.04) per cigarette.

It also prohibits any advertising and requires tobacco companies to post warnings on cigarette packs.

Data State Social Security Fund (CCSS) indicate that in 2012 $ 152 million was spent in the care of patients with diseases attributed to smoking.

This figure breaks down to $ 70 million for hospitalization, physician visits 70 million, 10.5 million for emergency care and 1.5 million disability.

In Costa Rica, a country of 4.5 million people, there are an estimated 434,000 active smokers, of which 297,000 are men and 137,000 women, according to the Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (IAFA). EFE

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose Costa Rica