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Guatemala's Congress Takes Action to Save Lives By Approving Strong Smoke-free Legislation
Date:11/26/2008

tion against a tobacco epidemic that the World Health Organization estimates will claim one billion lives worldwide this century unless urgent action is taken. A 2003 survey found that 23.9 percent of males over age 18 in Guatemala are smokers. Another survey showed that tobacco use among females is rising, and that 36.3 percent of Guatemala's youth are exposed to tobacco use in the home.

Tobacco use already kills 5.4 million people a year worldwide. Unchecked, that number is projected to rise to more than eight million by 2030, with more than 80 percent of these deaths in developing nations. Guatemala should implement the smoke-free law as quickly and strongly as possible. We hope that the leadership of smoke-free champions such as Diputada Zury Rios, who sponsored the legislation that was approved by Guatemala's visionary Congress, will result in a major public health victory for Guatemala.

Facts about Secondhand Smoke and Smoke-Free Laws

  • The science is beyond dispute: Secondhand smoke is harmful and deadly. Public health authorities worldwide, including the World Health Organization (WHO), have concluded that secondhand tobacco smoke is a major cause of serious diseases and premature death in non-smoking adults and children. Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 60 known to cause cancer. It is a scientifically proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease, serious respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and asthma, sudden infant death syndrome and low birth weight.
  • Everyone has a right to breathe clean air. The scientific evidence is clear that the only effective way to protect workers and the public from secondhand smoke is 100 percent smoke-free environments. Smoke-free laws must not permit any smoking indoors and must apply to all indoor workplaces and public places, including restaurants, bars and other hospitality venue
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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