Smokefree legislation/initiatives

Current smokefree legislation is weak and poorly enforced, mainly because the law is aimed at the smoker rather than business owners and managers. However, progress is being made. Some private buildings, such as shopping malls, have set up their own smokefree policies, and have had good results.

The city of Ambato, in the Andean region may soon be declared the first smokefree city in Ecuador.

In July 2008 the government launched the National Plan for Tobacco Prevention and Control, covering five areas, including smokefree environments. However, the Ministry of Health is currently only working on smoking prevention activities. A proposal to implement a more effective institutional structure has been developed jointly between public sector and civil society, but it has not been approved yet.

On 31 May 2009 the Ecuadorian Anti Tobacco Alliance (AELAT) will publicly recognize businesses and institutions that are running smokefree legislation/initiatives.

The Ecuadorian Foundation for Respiratory Health (FESAR) and AELAT, with support from the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids and the Bloomberg Initiative are starting two programs with local governments and private corporations: Smokefree Cities, and Smokefree Workplaces. FESAR is very optimistic about the results because local governments are more flexible and they are closer to the public. It is likely that implementation will be more effective by means of ordinances enforced in each city. The city of Ambato has received technical support from FESAR and AELAT in its bid to become smokefree.

Supported by CLA and Health Canada, FESAR is finishing a small pilot project to protect children from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. This initiative involves advocacy for smokefree schools and promoting smokefree homes using a social marketing strategy. FESAR is working via focus groups with children, parents and teachers, and have found an extreme vulnerability among poor children, associated with alcohol and other drugs (glue for example).

FESAR and AELAT, in collaboration with public institutions, have been advocating for a new legal framework in accordance with the FCTC. They have introduced a clause for tobacco control in the new State Political Constitution. This is important because opens the door to produce and introduce a new law they have been working on recently. They are planning introduce this law to the National Assembly when the time is right.

Smokefree resources available in 2009

The work on the new legal framework has been supported by CTFK-BI, but organizations such as The Union, Framework Convention Alliance and Canadian Lung Association have also provided support.

AELAT is civil society movement in which voluntary work is very important, including youth groups, university clubs, music groups, singers, TV hosts, radio presenters, NGOs, other local organizations, etc. Its work has been growing last year and it now has a clear visibility leading initiatives on tobacco control. FESAR, a non-profit civil society organization, is the Technical Secretariat for AELAT

Other civil society organizations – Red Cross, Adventist Schools, SOLCA (Struggle Against Cancer Society). However, the State does not have the capacity to coordinate or support civil society efforts, in spite of the National Plan.

Inter-Institutional Committee for Anti Tobacco Struggle (CILA), a multi-sectoral committee led by the Health National Council.

Ecuadorian Anti-tobacco Alliance (EATA)

Public education materials/implementation or enforcement materials

EATA produced two sets of materials in 2008 – (1) advocating legal reform and (2) promoting smokefree environments to protect children from secondhand smoke.

Materials were produced for the National Plan for Tobacco Prevention and Control.

Needs related to implementing smokefree policies

FESAR is advocating for a new Technical and Administrative Unit for Tobacco Control, supported by Government to lead the formulation and implementation of tobacco control policies and to coordinate actions with civil society. More collaboration is needed.

Technical human resources specialized in tobacco control – lawyers, media consultants, economists and others.

Factors helping or hindering the implementation of Article 8

Resources from CTFK-BI have been the most important factor.

Tobacco control is not yet a priority in public health. There is a lack of will to strengthen the capacity of tobacco control.
The government viewing tobacco as solely a health problem.

Other countries that have influenced smokefree laws

Uruguay is the main reference point and source of technical and political assistance. For example, support has been provided by Dr. Gustavo Sóñora and Dr. Eduardo Bianco. Smokefree cities in Argentina and Mexico have also provided good examples. American Cancer Society’s work on smokefree workplaces is a benchmark.

First, say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. Health Service Food and Human Resources: free cigarettes

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