Honduras bans smoking in public places

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Indy Lifestyle Online

A ban on smoking in public places and some private areas went into effect on Monday in Honduras, the latest among half a dozen Latin American countries to pass anti-tobacco laws.

"This law will reduce diseases, especially cardiovascular ones," said Health Minister Arturo Bendana as he celebrate a "historical event."

Smoking is now banned in buildings, offices, supermarkets and malls, bars, discotheques, hotels, gyms, public parking lots and public transportation, with fines of up to 6,000 dollars for infractions.

Special booths will be set up, however, on some private establishments affected by the measure.

The law also bans tobacco advertising.

In March 2006, Uruguay became the first Latin American country and the fifth nation worldwide to ban smoking in public places. Colombia, Guatemala, Paraguay and Peru have since followed suit.

But in some other countries, smoking laws are not coordinated at the national level. In Argentina, for example, it is illegal to smoke in public places in the most populous province of Buenos Aires, but other regions allow it.

Smokers in Brazil must also extinguish their cigarettes before entering restaurants, bars and private offices in Sao Paulo and Rio - two main states in the Latin American giant. But the ban is not applicable elsewhere in the country.