The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) marked World No Tobacco Day today by recognising three individuals, four government agencies, and a nongovernmental organisation for their contributions to smoke-free environments in the Americas.
PAHO Director Mirta Roses, presented awards to Professor Jonathan M. Samet, of the John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health; Miguel Garca, National Corporation of Laryngectomees, Chile; National Resource Fund of Uruguay, a nongovernmental organisation that finances highly specialised medical procedures for all patients; and Crdoba, Santa Fé, and Tucumán, Argentina's 100 per cent smoke-free provinces.
All three provinces have, starting in 2003, banned smoking in all public places, including restaurants and bars. Their achievement is especially noteworthy given that Argentina has signed, but not yet ratified, the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Also receiving awards were the Ministry of Agrarian Development of Brazil, which has launched a programme to support small tobacco producers and their families through diversification of projects involving research, training, and technical assistance; Professor Alfredo Daro Espinosa Brito, of Cuba, who has supported tobacco control efforts for more than 30 years through research, publications and legislative initiatives. Dr. Espinosa is vice-president of the Cuban Society of Internal Medicine, president of his provincial Scientific Council, and a deputy in the Cuban National Assembly, where he introduced a Framework Law on Prevention and Control of Tobacco Use.
In Geneva today, WHO marked World No Tobacco Day with a call on all the world's countries to make all indoor public places and workplaces 100 per cent smoke-free. (see http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2007/pr26/en/index.html).
All three provinces have, starting in 2003, banned smoking in all public places, including restaurants and bars.