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Cuba launches smoking ban
    #3747296 - 02/07/05 09:24 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Cuba launches smoking ban

Monday, February 7, 2005 Posted: 11:55 AM EST

HAVANA, Cuba (AP) -- Cuba banned smoking in public places on Monday, as the government of the country known for its famous cigars acknowledged the health risk of tobacco.

Smoking will be banned in restaurants, except in designated smoking areas, and cigarette machines also will be removed. The law will also suspend sales of cigarettes to children under age 16 and at stores less than 100 yards from schools.

According to government statistics, four of every 10 Cubans smoke, and 30 percent of the 15,000 deaths from preventable cancers each year can be linked to smoking.

News of the ban was first announced last month, when it was published in Cuba's National Gazette by the Commerce Ministry.

The resolution said the move was "taking into account the damage to human health caused by the consumption of cigarettes and cigars, with the objective of contributing to a change in the attitudes of our population."

But some Cubans didn't seem to know, or care, and continued to light up their black tobacco cigarettes in enclosed areas now designated as nonsmoking.

"I won't give you my name," a woman worker in an office building in Old Havana said as she stubbed out her filterless cigarette in a hallway ashtray by the elevator.

Cigar exports continue to play a key economic role, generating $200 million annually.

Cuban President Fidel Castro, who gave up smoking years ago, once joked about giving away boxes of cigars, saying "the best thing to do is give them to your enemy."


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