Brazil has a very good track record on tobacco control in general, but less progress has been made with smokefree legislation at a national level.
Brazil has had a federal smokefree law since 1996 that prohibits smoking in enclosed public places, but allows for isolated and ventilated smoking rooms (see http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/nations/legislation/OriginalFiles/origbrazil_03.htm). The provision for smoking rooms has led to different interpretations of the law. However, since government inspections of implementation of the law are not effective, the majority of restaurants, bars and nightclubs do not comply with the law.
Current smokefree activities are focusing on making restaurants, bars and clubs in Brazil smokefree by (a) amending the Federal law to eliminate smoking rooms (b) enforcing the current laws following good examples in parts of the country. As the country is federal, an approach similar to Argentina’s is being adopted.
The City of Recife became smokefree on 12 February 2008, including bars, restaurants, clubs and hotels. The municipal sanitary surveillance has been carrying out inspections since 2008 and, in general, the law is being complied with. The city of Joao Pessoa and at least four other cities in the State of Paraíba also have comprehensive smokefree legislation: Campina Grande, Patos, Cabedelo, Sumé.
In the state of Sao Paulo, a bill on the prohibition of smoking in indoor places was passed on 7 April 2009. It is a comprehensive ban, with no allowance for DSRs. ACT has been working on advocacy for the bill in the face of strong opposition from the hospitality industry and some newspapers. An amendment by deputy Paulo Alexandre Barbosa (PSDB) was also approved, that delays the bill from entering law for 90 days. During this period the bill will be regularised, in terms of fines and punishment. This is a huge achievement, given the importance and size of São Paulo state which has a population of 40 million (GL NIMI 17 April 2009).
In the city of Rio de Janeiro, there is a local decree on the prohibition of smoking in indoor places, with no allowance for DSRs. However, this decree has been challenged judicially, and a significant number of restaurants and bars are covered by an injunction that allows them to have DSRs. Since the new head of the municipal sanitary surveillance is still assessing the situation, there are currently no inspections and the population’s perception is that the decree is no longer valid (it is associated with the former mayor).
The vast majority of people in Brazil support smokefree public places. ACT monitors public opinion every year, and a poll of young people aged 12-22 carried out in December 2008 found high levels of support (85%) for smokefree environments.
The issue of smokefree public places has had a high profile in the media recently. The federal government has been urged to vote on the bill.
Smokefree resources available in 2009
Aliança de Controle do Tabagismo (ACT) www.actbr.org.br
Bloomberg Initiative Grants (see www.tobaccocontrolgrants.org)
ACT – This project aims to build the institutional capacity and infrastructure of ACT for development and implementation of strategic advocacy campaigns in Brazil by consolidating the role of NGO network as an important player in these areas by ensuring meaningful participation.
ACT, Promoçao da Saúde e dos Direitos Humanos – Projects to strengthen the institutional capacity of ACT to leverage support and monitor tobacco control measures in Brazil; achieve 100% smoke-free restaurants, bars, bingo halls and nightclubs in seven major Brazilian capitals (Joao Pessoa, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba and Brasilia)
Instituto Nacional de Cancer – The project aims to improve Brazilian smokefree legislation and national compliance with it by strengthening the language of the smokefree federal law and establishing mechanisms to ensure compliance.
Public education materials/implementation or enforcement materials
ACT material campaigns about this issue are available at www.actbr.org.br – includes radio spots, TV ad, posters and folders. (Portugese)
Factors helping or hindering the implementation of Article 8
Helping – good examples of smokefree (e.g., Recife)
Hindering – The federal system makes it difficult to pass country-wide legislation; tobacco industry influence.
Other countries that have influenced smokefree laws