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Chile's President Sebastián Piñera officially launched the country's new comprehensive tobacco control legislation at a ceremony in Santiago on 1 March 2013. The new legislation bans smoking in all enclosed public places and prohibits all forms of tobacco advertising.The Union arranged for Michael R Bloomberg, financier, philanthropist and Mayor of the City of New York to speak via recorded video message at the ceremony, which was attended by Mirta Molinari, Director of The Union Mexico Office.

President Piñera expressed his commitment to the new law, which became stronger and stronger during the legislative process. He explained that 46 Chileans died every day from tobacco consumption and related diseases.

'Over the last few years, Latin-America, now home to 14 smoke-free countries, has been a global leader in tobacco control efforts,' said Bloomberg. 'Chile, which has the highest smoking rates in Latin America, is now implementing proven measures to reduce tobacco use.'

'The first of March is a milestone for tobacco control in your country,' he continued. 'More than 16 million Chileans and countless future generations will be protected from the dangers of tobacco products. We congratulate you [President Piñera] and the Minister of Health for this crucial step and I am honoured to have supported your effort to pass this legislation. You are doing a wonderful thing for the people of Chile and they will remember it.'

Michael R Bloomberg has supported The Union and Chile's National Tobacco Control Unit to expand political and institutional support for the law through the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use. Thanks to continued support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Union will continue to work with the Chilean Ministry of Health to ensure effective enforcement of the new law.

The new legislation aims to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke and help halt the tobacco epidemic in Chile. Chile has the highest rate of smoking in Latin America. Over 40% of adults and 34% of teenagers aged 13 to 15 are smokers

 

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