CUba bans smoking public places

Campaign News | Saturday, 7 February 2004

New laws aimed at saving lives

Cuba - the home of the fine cigar - has brought in tough new regulations on tobacco smoking in public places.

It is now banned in most work places, cigarette machines are being removed and it will be illegal to sell tobacco products close to schools.

Almost half of all Cuban adults smoke, and tobacco and cigar exports are important to the country's economy.

The laws are among toughest anti-smoking regulations in the world.

In the capital Havana, managers of restaurants and bars said they intended to set up non-smoking areas.

Cuba says it wants to change the attitude of its population towards tobacco.

It will be battling a culture that goes back five centuries. Many Cubans start the habit in their early teens.

Tobacco and cigar exports generate more than $200m (£107m) a year. But every year some 6,000 Cubans die from smoking-related illnesses.

It is thought to be an attempt to increase the average life expectancy here that drove the Cuban government to act now.

President Castro - a one-time keen cigar smoker - gave up in the mid-1980s.

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