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Cuba Cracks Down On Smoking

HAVANA, Jan. 19, 2005

Times change, and so did Cuban President Fidel Castro (at left, in 2004), who gave up smoking after decades of never being without his trademark cigar (at right, back in the 1960s). (Photo: AP / CBS)

Tobacco is second to sugar as Cuba's most important crop, but the country is increasingly less dependent on farming, with agriculture accounting for about 5% of the economy, industry for about 27% and service businesses about 68%.

(CBS/AP) Despite its reputation as a producer of fine cigars, Cuba is preparing to ask smokers to step outside before lighting up.

Beginning on Feb. 7, smoking will be prohibited in theaters, stores, buses, taxis and other enclosed public areas under a new resolution published in Cuba's National Gazette by the Commerce Ministry.

Smoking will also be banned in indoor restaurants except in designated smoking areas. Cigarette machines will be removed. There was no word if smoking would be allowed in bars.

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."

Tolerance for the habit has been slowly waning and even President Fidel Castro gave up smoking cigars years ago, joking on one occasion about giving away boxes of cigars: "The best thing to do is give them to your enemy."

Cigar exports continue to play a key role in the Cuban economy, generating $200 million annually.

Tobacco is second to sugar cane as Cuba's most important crop, but the country - like many others - is increasingly less dependent on farming, with agriculture accounting for about 5% of the economy (three times as much as in the U.S.), industry for about 27% (about the same as in the U.S.) and service businesses about 68% (only slightly less than the 72% seen in the U.S.).

Cuba's new smoking law will also ban the sale 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.

In the U.S. - which is also a tobacco producer, with anti-smoking measures credited for reduced cigarette sales - nearly 23 percent of adults are smokers. That's according to the American Lung Association, which says tobacco-related illnesses claim an estimated 440,000 lives each year.

-- Jubinell (Jube@Jube.Jube), January 30, 2005


You can breathe the air in Bhutan


THIMPU, Bhutan The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is well on the way to becoming the first nation on earth to completely ban the use of tobacco, hot on the heels of the recently adopted global Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the world's first anti-smoking treaty. Bhutan Health Minister Sangay Ngedup told the World Health Assembly in Geneva last month that his nation of 2 million inhabitants is aiming to be smoke-free by the end of the year. "We will not spare any efforts to stamp out smoking," he said. "We will set a great example for all other countries to follow." Bhutan has adopted an anti-smoking approach combining tradition, religious persuasion and saturation health education across the country to curb the smoking habits of its citizens. Today, 19 of the country's 20 districts have declared themselves tobacco-free, and Bhutan has become the first country to ban the sale of tobacco in its airport duty-free stores. A devout Buddhist nation, Bhutan draws from its religious history to wage a campaign against smoking. In 1629, the warrior monk and founder of modern Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, introduced the world's first-ever prohibition on smoking and chewing tobacco when he banned it from all government buildings and religious centers. Since then smoking has never been encouraged in Bhutan, but like all developing countries it witnessed a steady increase in smokers during the latter half of the past century as it became exposed to aggressive marketing and ready supply from global tobacco companies. "Smoking was becoming a serious issue for our country, and the rapid rise in the cancers and other smoking-related diseases was a major economic burden on our public health system," said Bhutan's director of health, Dr. Gado Tshering. Bhutan's health authorities began to claw back in the war against tobacco when they hit on a novel approach of teaming health workers with religious leaders to travel the country in an influential "Health and Religion Project," beginning in 1997. Dr. Gado said the aim of the project was to go to every village and explain to people that smoking is not only bad from a health point of view, but is also a serious religious sin. "There is no doubt that having the two elements working together, and with strong and vocal support from the king and other government leaders, has led to a large proportion of people giving up smoking," he said. Health workers estimated that there may be as few as 25,000 smokers left in the country, down from almost 300,000 a decade ago. One of those who has given up cigarettes in recent times is Paro resident Chheda Dukpa, a smoker for 17 years. "We were being told that smoking was bad for our health, but when the district lama came in 2000 and told me I was smoking too much and that it was a big sin, then I promised I would never smoke again, and I never did," he said. "It has been great for my health, economically and also for my religious purity." The government is proud of its anti-smoking success; evident in the fact that 92 percent of the country is now tobacco-free, with all the prohibitions having been at the instigation of local communities themselves. "It has never been the government's policy to bring in strict laws," said Dasho Pem Dorji, governor of the central district of Wangdiphodrang. "Community leaders came to me in 1999 asking to ban the sale of tobacco, so we drew up a bylaw and introduced fines. It has worked really well, and we haven't caught anyone in two years." Health authorities now have their sights firmly set on the last remaining area where tobacco is legally available, the nation's capital city, Thimpu. Health Minister Ngedup acknowledges that Thimpu, with its large youth population, will be tough, with smoking popular in bars and clubs filled with young Bhutanese. "Nobody can tell me not to smoke," said Tsehring Dorji, 19, partying with friends at a trendy new nightclub. "It is my right to do what I want." His friends, all of whom were smoking, agreed. Still, the social stigma attached to smoking has pushed cigarettes off the shelves of major stores in the city, and tobacco products are available only under the counter from small suburban shops. "I don't like to display the cigarettes as people come and tell me not to sell them, and I am ashamed, but people still want to buy them," said Jaya, a local shopkeeper. "Many people look guilty now, and most buy their cigarettes at night."

Thang khung Castro dau co phai thanh than gi!!

-- LeTrungNam (, January 30, 2005.

Thật l tin buồn cho mấy tn sn lải cộng sản .Tại Sao ?

Tại v Fidel Cp B cua xứ Cu Bố cấm thuốc l .

Tại sao Fidel Cp B cấm thuốc l ?

Tại bc sĩ bảo phải cai thuốc l th mới sống lu như thằng Mao thằng Hồ (như vậy chết bố mấy thằng Cu Bố rồi ) .

Chuyện ny lm g ảnh hưởng đến dn ?

C chứ ,hắn khng được ht thuốc m dn được ht thuốc như vậy hắn sẽ thm m ht trở li v hắn sẽ chết sớm .

Nhưng sao lại ảnh hưởng tới CHXHCN ?

Ảnh hưởng nhiều chứ ! hy nhn thấy mấy thằng chp bu H Nội ! thằng no cũng hai ba vợ rồi đo nh đo tơ ,mấy khứa thằng no cũng gần đất xa trời ,nhờ thai nhi với xm nhung nn cn ln ngựa xuống ngựa .

Nếu chng n bị liệt dương bất tử liệu chng n chịu cảnh nhn bọn đn em ln ngựa xuống ngựa trước mặt khng ? nhất l với mấy con đo nh của chng .Như vậy chng sẽ lm g ? Cu trả lời xin qu vị tự giải kiểu vừa đi vừa kể chuyện .

-- thich du thu (, January 30, 2005.

LeTrungNam, have you been to Bhutan? People do not smoke cigarettes there. Marijuana is dead cheap because the plant grows naturally and untouched by government actions of any kind. Furthermore ,the royal prince of Bhutan is the biggest consumer of marijuana known to its citizen.

thich du thu: pretty funny theories you have there.

-- Jubinell (Jube@Jube.Jube), February 01, 2005.

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