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New law bans smoking in almost all urban settings outside the home

Strict new federal laws have been implemented that further restrict smoking in public and tobacco promotion in Mexico.

The new General Tobacco Law, which came into effect January 16, basically prohibits smoking in all indoor (and many outdoor) public locations. In addition to restaurants and bars, this includes hotels and lodgings, workplaces, restaurants, public transport, shopping centers, sports stadiums, concert venues, schools, parks, plazas, beaches, and any other indoor and outdoor locations where young people may congregate.

This effort to reduce the impact of secondhand smoke extends to the terraces and patios of restaurants.  The new law prohibits the serving of food and drinks in exterior areas of restaurants and bars that are “designated” for smoking.

This section of the new law especially concerns the business community.

“We consider the regulation to be full of inconsistencies that will have a negative impact on restaurateurs,” said Mario Ávalos, president of the National Restaurant Industry Chamber (Canirac) in Jalisco. “There is no health justification for prohibiting the provision of services or consumption of food or drinks in exclusive areas for smokers.”

Hiram Vera, president of the National Council of the Tobacco Industry, promised “a storm” of legal measures in protest at contentious sections of the new law.

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