Photo: Chiara Summer/Unsplash

By KELIN DILLON

On Tuesday, May 31 – also known as World No Tobacco Day – Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) signed a decree banning the circulation of and marketing of electronic cigarettes and vaporizers, extending his previous decree from October 2021, which put prohibitory limits on the imports and exports of the smoking devices.

“The industry claims that vaping devices and electronic cigarettes are a useful measure to quit smoking, but there is evidence that vaping devices not only prevent people from quitting smoking, but also induces tobacco addiction,” said Undersecretary for Prevention and Health Promotion Hugo López-Gatell during López Obrador’s Tuesday iteration of his daily morning press conference.

AMLO looks to extend these anti-smoking measures to traditional tobacco products with further reforms to the General Law for Tobacco Control, which will prohibit the smoking of tobacco in shared areas like terraces and balconies, as well as sporting events, beaches, parks, malls, hotels, restaurants and markets, just to start with. This will also see the advertising and marketing of tobacco products, whether direct or indirect, banned across all forms of media, including, but not limited to print, television, radio, streaming services and social media.

According to Evalinda Barrón, general director of the National Commission against Addictions (Conadic), AMLO’s new initiatives could not come at a better time for the country: Data shows that tobacco addictions and tobacco-related health ailments will cost the Mexican public healthcare system some 116.1 billion pesos in 2022 alone.

AMLO’s actions didn’t seem to go unnoticed, as the Mexican executive earned an award from the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday in recognition of his “leadership and unwavering support to strengthen tobacco control measures in Mexico.”

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