National tobacco control legislation, including a ban on smoking in indoor workplaces and other specific areas, was approved by the President on 24 January 2008. It is a comprehensive smokefree law, and DSRs are not allowed. Snuff use is banned too. Smokefree measures are in Law No.13 and the provision was published in the Official Gazette N°25966 on 25 January 2008. Smoking is prohibited in the following places:
1. Public and private offices at the national, provincial, district and local level.
2. Public transport in general and in land, sea, and air terminals.
3. Enclosed places of public access where people congregate.
4. Open and closed environments for sports activities, both public and private.
5. The common areas of public buildings for private commercial and domestic use.
6. Indoor working environments.
7. Public and private educational and health institutions.
Smokefree resources available in 2009
Good NGO collaboration. The main NGO is the Coalition Against Tobacco Panama (COPACET). A full list of 15 was provided.
The visit by Jon Samet (former Director of JHBSPH) to the Gorgas Memorial Institute for the Study of Health in 2006 led to the formation of a coalition working for 100% smokefree indoor areas.
Resources are still scarce. COPACET has relied on free publicity via the media – press conferences, TV and radio interviews, newspaper articles.
Public education materials/implementation or enforcement materials
Parades were organised to support smokefree legislation.
Educational materials were produced, including FCTC and national legislation, secondhand smoke, supported with audiovisual material.
Educational events were held with schoolchildren and adolescents, including seminars, workshops and cinemas discussions using films Duck smoker (a national production aimed at primary school children).
Contests were held, including a hat contest organized by health professionals from Region Metropolitana de Salud
Needs related to implementing smokefree policies
Information from other countries on (1) monitoring the implementation of smokefree laws; (2) impact of smokefree policies on youth and other population groups; (3) changes in consumption of tobacco or non-smoked tobacco products.
Factors helping or hindering the implementation of Article 8
1. The results of the Global Tobacco Young Survey (GYTS) – used as a tool briefing on tobacco consumption and exposure in the population among 13-15 year olds
2. The population being more aware of the harmful effects of secondhand smoke and ready to defend their right to breathe air free of tobacco smoke; complaints re violations.
3. Failure to comply with the provisions of Executive Order No. 17 of March 2005, which indicated the use of ventilators and oxygenations, which has facilitated the achievement of favorable legislation behind closed indoors for smokefree environments.
4. Results of studies monitoring environmental snuff smoke in bars, restaurants, the airport, bowling alleys, hospitals and municipalities.
5. Results of the study of secondhand smoke on women and children between three months and 10 years in households from Panama City.
6. Increasing awareness of the authorities of the importance of protecting the health of people from tobacco smoke.
7. Having ratified the FCTC.
8. Existence of NGO monitors the implementation of the FCTC and the national provisions that allow its implementation.
9. Interest from the Panama National University to make the Central Campus and all its regional entities smokefree.
10. The Ministry of Health (MINSA) establishing a hot line for reporting violations of the law.
1. Pressure from the tobacco industry and casinos to accommodate non-smokers.
2. Carlos Slim relations with national authorities.
3. MINSA limited capacity to monitor compliance with the provision.
4. National Council for Health without Tobacco, inter-entity created in 2003, not having met since the change of government in 2004. This situation limits the coordination between governmental and nongovernmental institutions for the effective implementation of the provisions of the FCTC and national regulatory provisions.
5. A lack of laboratories that can perform analysis of environmental cotinine and a lack of resources for hiring outside services to allow periodic sampling.
Other countries that have influenced smokefree laws
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