Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla signed a bill that mandates health warnings on all cigarette packets as well as prohibiting brands from using the words “light” or “suave” in their labels.
The measure is the latest curb by the Costa Rican government on tobacco consumption, coming on the heels of a ban on sales of small packs of cigarettes.
“This is the end of a 10-year fight against tobacco,” Chinchilla said after signing the bill on Tuesday. Chinchilla said opposition had successfully impeded the cigarette regulations, with vendors and producers arguing it would hurt the economy. She argued that a healthier population would be an economic boost.
Chinchilla’s health minister, Daisy Corrales, presented a slideshow at the San José press conference showing an example health warning. The label showed a cloud of smoke surrounding a sleeping infant, with a warning in Spanish noting the harmful effects of cigarette smoke on children.
“This is one of the No. 1 enemies of children and the people of the country,” Corrales said.
The legislation mandates that the top half of all cigarette packs contain the Health Ministry’s message, as well as the bottom half of the back.