Tabaco Honduras

New law in Honduras means family members can stop smokers lighting up in their own homes

Honduras has become the first country to ban smoking in your own home.

The country’s new anti-smoking law is so tough it even allows family members to call the police if they object.

The new measure , which is primarily to prevent smoking in closed public or private spaces, insists that smokers must stand at least six feet away from non-smokers in any open space.

The law explicitly bans smoking in schools, gas stations, nightclubs, restaurants, bars, buses, taxis, stadiums and cultural centres.

It doesn’t ban smoking at home, but expressly says relatives or visitors can summon police to deal with smokers at home.

‘Families or individuals may complain to law enforcement authorities when smokers expose them to secondhand smoke in private places and family homes,’ it reads.

Rony Portillo, director of the Institute to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, said those who violate the law will first receive a verbal warning and after the second offence could be arrested.

To be released they would have to pay a $311 fine, the equivalent of a monthly minimum wage salary in Honduras.

Leading from front: Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, pictured on a visit to South Korea today

‘The law is clear and we will comply with it,’ Portillo said. ‘Authorities will intervene (at a home) when someone makes a complaint.’

Some say the law will be almost impossible to enforce in this Central American nation of eight million people with a rampant crime problem and only 12,000 police officers.

‘Police won’t be able to enforce it because they can barely keep up with the crime wave that has been overwhelming us to be able to go after those who are smoking at home,’ said Jose Martinez, a 38-year-old computer engineer.

Armando Peruga, of the World Health Organisation’s Tobacco-Free Initiative, praised Honduras for its anti-smoking law, saying it is only the 29th nation to adopt such a law out of WHO’s 193 member states.

But while Peruga praised the measure as ‘a positive law,’ he said the clause allowing family members to call police on their smoker relatives is confusing.

The clause ‘does not make much sense since the law clearly does not prohibit smoking at homes.’

‘It seems its intention is to educate by way of complaints, a move that I do not find very feasible,’ Peruga said.

The law also outlaws all advertising for tobacco products and requires photos of lungs affected by cancer to be placed on cigarette packs. Tobacco and cigarette companies have 60 days to comply with both requirements.

In Honduras, 30 per cent of the people smoke, and nine out of 10 Hondurans suffering from acute bronchitis live in homes where there is a smoker, according to Honduran health authorities.

For every dollar that the tobacco industry makes in Honduras, the state spends $10 to fight smoking-related diseases, according to the Health Department.

The law says businesses, such as bars or restaurants, that allow smoking could be fined between $1,000 and $6,000 and repeat offenders could be shut down.

‘The law is stupid because it bans smoking in bars or nightclubs, and everyone knows that people who go there smoke, and if they don’t like it, they shouldn’t come and that’s that,’ said Gustavo Valladares, a bar manager and smoker.

Non-smokers see it differently.

‘It was about time that the government did something,’ said elementary teacher Esteban Quijano, a nonsmoker. ‘I like to visit bars, but I hate the smoke of others.

Most of my friends smoke and I know that it indirectly hurts me and now it will be different. I support the law.

Fuente: Mail Online