Region of the Americas
31 May 2001, World No Tobacco Day
Minister Josť Serra, Minister of Health, Brazil
In December 2000, Brazil passed national legislation banning smoking in all vehicles of public transport, and severely restricting the promotion of tobacco products. These actions place Brazil as the leading country in implementing tobacco control initiatives in Latin America. They follow other long-standing initiatives such as the training of all municipal health workers in tobacco control, research into the environmental impact of tobacco production, and support for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. These initiatives are all the more notable given Brazil's status as the world's leading exporter of leaf tobacco.
The strong support of Health Minister Serra was critical to achieving the smoking restrictions and advertising restrictions. His advocacy and tenacity in standing firm in the face of opposition from tobacco companies is to be commended.
The Honorable Allan Rock, Minister of Health, Canada
In December 2000, Canadian smokers became among the most informed smokers in the world, thanks to new messages on tobacco packages that cover half of the package and use photos and illustrations to emphasize their point. Six of these messages focus on the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, ensuring that every parent in Canada who smokes has access to information about the impact of second-hand smoke on their families. This information campaign will result in increased protection of children in Canada from exposure to second-hand smoke. Health Minister Allan Rock showed great political commitment in shepherding this initiative through the regulatory process, ensuring that the resulting messages were strong and evidence-based.
Package messages are one component of a longstanding comprehensive strategy to reduce tobacco use in Canada that includes restrictions on smoking, restrictions on tobacco promotion, tobacco taxation policies designed to decrease demand, and extensive public education and information campaigns.
Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, Honduras
For several years, the Ministries of Health and Education in Honduras have had in place smoke free policies that cover all facilities related to these ministries, including health centers, recreational and sports facilities, and all levels of educational institutions. These policies are actively enforced, resulting in actual smoke free environments in the vast majority of these facilities.
In Latin America, where many health ministries and hospitals still allow smoking, and where smoke free policies are often not enforced, Honduras' efforts are significant and deserve recognition.
Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Regional Council for the Regional Municipality of Waterloo (Ken Seiling, Chair)
Brian Hatton and staff, Community Health Department, Waterloo Region
Susanne Santi and the Council for a Tobacco-Free Waterloo Region
As of April 2000, all indoor public places in the Region of Waterloo (population of nearly half a million) are smoke free. Separately-ventilated smoking rooms are not allowed, making Waterloo Region the first regional municipality in the Americas to require all public places to be 100% smoke free. The by-law mandating smoke free environments covers restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, billiard halls, public transit, as well as a host of other public places.
From several nominations received for the Region of Waterloo, the above individuals and organizations were specifically named for their roles in achieving the by-law. The award goes jointly to all of these individuals, in the form of an award to the Regional Municipality.
Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, California, United States
Since 1976, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights (ANR) has advocated for smoke free environments throughout the United States and has provided indispensable resource tools for local advocates. The results of ANR's efforts are evident in the increasing number of smoke-free ordinances in communities throughout the United States. Their success is illustrated most dramatically by the elimination of smoking in all public places and workplaces (except for limited, separately ventilated smoking areas), including bars and restaurants, in the State of California in 1998.
The successful implementation of California's smoke free policy is due in part to the educational efforts of ANR over the past 25 years. If the success of smoking restrictions in the United States could be credited to a single organization, ANR would be a strong contender to receive that credit.
Ministry of Health, Jamaica
The Ministry of Health in Jamaica in 1995 declared all Ministry of Health facilities smoke free. This policy is actively enforced, and complements the elimination of smoking in Jamaica's international airports and on Air Jamaica. Jamaica also has been a strong supporter of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control while simultaneously planning to greatly strengthen various tobacco control initiatives in Jamaica. Jamaica provides a voice of leadership on tobacco control within the English-speaking Caribbean.