Thursday, March 02, 2006

Uruguay: the first smoke-free country in South America

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Starting March 1st Uruguay has become the first smoke-free country in South America. From now on smoking is prohibited in public places and smokers can't speak about anything else. They are all really mad because the ban came so abruptly. It just suddenly happened one day with almost no campaigns or psychological treatment.

I don't smoke and I personally like the idea of not having to tolerate the smoke at restaurants and certain other places but I think this should have been done gradually and not like the way it was carried out. Starting yesterday inspectors ran to the streets to make sure that the law is being respected everywhere. When it is not, violators will have to pay a fine of about 1000 American Dollars (that's a lot here in Uruguay).

The campaign started the same day of the banning with "no smoking" signs being posted everywhere. I am showing a couple of signs here, because I think that some of the ideas in the pictures are really good, it would have been better if they were up a couple of months earlier though. I could only find these around my place but I may post more in the future so come back if you are interested. I don't think the translation is necessary because the images speak by themselves. The main sign in the one with the baby says (don't make me smoke, smoke noun).





I should also mention in case you don't know, that our president Tabaré Vázquez is an oncologist and he is really worried about us Uruguayans dying of lung cancer. This is most likely the reason why we are the first country in Latin America to adopt the non-smoking status. There are around one million smokers in Uruguay (the total population is about 3 and a half millions). This is going to be really tough.

26 comments:

socalledchaos-XL said...

same as i italy. There are also very strong anti-smoke laws (not in public places or restaurants, etc).
A other question: I live here in austria(europe) and think about to leave europe and to move to uruguay(within the next 5 years). what do you think? Is urugay a place for a young (25yrs) european to live in? many (german) emigration websites say uruguay ist *the* place outside of europe to live in. I think the hardest thing is to get a job, but i'm a self-employed IT-engineer, so what :) -- thanks for a short reply :)

Tali said...

I think it is a really nice place to live in. It is especially good to raise kids since it is still pretty safe compared to other countries. I don't know if you are 25 years old now or you will be in 5 years but that might make the difference.

At 25 you feel like going out all the time and having fun and there are really few places to go in Montevideo. In a matter of weeks you'll know them all and you might get bored if you are looking to party. You always have Buenos Aires really close and you can go there frequently but if you are a party boy you should take that into account.

At 30 you might be looking for other things, and then the mood and spirit of the country might suit you better. Why not come and visit first? If you need any guidance let us know.

Anonymous said...

i am personally excited about the public smoking ban since i have a hard time breathing around cigarette smoke. i have 2 questions for you not concerning smoking. 1) are there any health food stores or vegetarian food options or restaurants for non-meat eaters. i eat eggs and cheese and milk, but not meat. will i have problems? i had no problems in BsAs because salads and italian food were plentiful. is that the same case in Montevideo?
2) can you tell me what the average temperature of the atlantic water is in the summer and winter? i want to know if it's swimmable.
thanks for any info you can provide. i'm fascinated by your blog.
wb

Tali said...

As in Buenos Aires, there are plenty of restaurants that sell pasta and salads. I think there will be even more places that sell exclusively vegetarian food in the future.

The water in the summer is definitely swimmable, I was there a couple of weeks ago and it was great, you could spend a long time inside. In the winter it's not a good idea to go in, it will most likely be freezing but it's fine in the summer. I am not sure about the exact temperature, but I'll try to find out and post it.

gabo_uy said...

One millon thanks page

socalledchaos-XL said...

thanks for ur reply! i will try to visit uruguay in 2007. This year i have to improve my spanish. :) And btw, i am 25 .. uhm soon 26 years old :), and sure, i like to party, but i'm not one of these 'partyboys', so i think i have no problems with that :) And sure, before i really emmigrate from europe, i will check out everthing important.

snowykarma said...

nice site. have lived in mexico,now based in Canada. Sorry to here about the smoking law- Have they gone overboard too? can I smoke my cigar in a bar or my own hottel room? My private office? Can I open a cigar club and smoking room under this law? -I am now hesitating to visit,let alone move my corperation. Would appreciate more detail.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you are planning to move in to our contry. You'll find it very adeqcuate for living without stress, and giving your family a very high life quality.
Don't worry about your spanish. Here we all talk english and you'll learn quickly "uruguayan" language.
Welcome in advance.

snowykarma said...

I do speak some spanish,and read a little,but my writing needs lots of work.
I was hopeing someone could give me more info on the details of the smoking laws. anyone?... I also speak,read and write some german.

Tali said...

You cannot smoke in public spaces under any circumstances. You can smoke in your house. Just like in California or any other US state that has carried out the smoking ban. Tali

ron said...

Tali, can you advise me about university education in Monte Video. How does the system work for locals and foreigers.

Tali said...

Hi Ron, University in Uruguay is free, or actually payed by the Uruguayan state. This is the case for Universidad de la Republica. You are actually supposed to pay back with taxes about 5 years after you get your degree. There are also some private universities like Universidad de Montevideo, ORT and Universidad Catolica. What else would you like to know? Tali

trackop2@yahoo.com said...

wanted to ask,my wife and i are interested in moving that way,shes an account from columbia,im a heavy equipment superivsor and operator out of florida,we ask for info but all we get is the run around,any ideas where to go about it?

gabouy said...

what info exactly are you after?

Anonymous said...

looking for contacts for work,that sort of thing,may get lucky and someone might know of something,we would like to actually move down that way,work wise i dont think she would have a problem,me,well,i can run anything,so any ifo would be helpful,thanks much

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