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Buenos Aires, Argentina, has taken another strong step toward protecting its citizens from tobacco smoke. This month, the Buenos Aires legislature increased fines for violating the 100% smokefree law which came into effect in 2012.

The increased fines, ranging from $2425 to $24250 Argentine pesos (around US$ 350 to $3500), apply to owners, legal representatives and other parties responsible for facilities who do not enforce the smokefree ban. In addition, such venues face closure for 30 consecutive days if they receive three penalties in one year.

Buenos Aires new sanctionsThe Government of Buenos Aires, a Bloomberg Initiative grantee since 2010, has worked closely with The Union to strengthen its tobacco control legislation. The city became 100% smokefree in June 2012, when designated smoking rooms in public buildings were banned.

Now the city's tobacco control campaign is focused on implementation and enforcement, as reports reveal that some types of business, including nightclubs, bingo halls and gambling rooms, are not complying with the law. Overall compliance levels within the city will be raised considerably if these businesses are effectively targeted.

Public support for 100% smokefree environments in Buenos Aires has gradually built in recent years, thanks to high-impact communications campaigns. Effective mechanisms for monitoring and enforcing compliance have also been developed, including training for the agencies involved in these processes: the Ministry of Modernisation, the Government Control Agency and those operating the toll-free number for reporting violators.

This subnational drive to create healthy smokefree environments has had a broad impact in Argentina. In May 2013 the National Law for Tobacco Control came into force guaranteeing similar developments across the country. This will in turn aid law enforcement efforts in Buenos Aires City.

 

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