Photo: Smoking ban in Honduras reaches homes.
In Honduras, a new smoking law took effect on Monday that allows family members to call the police on those that smoke in the house.
The new law bans smoking in almost all closed public and private places and requires those smoking to stand a minimum of six feet from any nonsmokers in an open space. Smoking in schools, gas stations, nightclubs, restaurants, bars, public transportation, public arenas, and other specified locations, but it did not make clear that smoking at home is also not allowed. That is, until a clause was added, that took effect this week.
Families or individuals may complain to law enforcement authorities when smokers expose them to secondhand smoke in private places and family homes.
Anyone found to have violated the law will first be given a verbal warning. After a second offense, the smoker could be arrested, and before release, they’d have to pay a $311 fee – the equivalent of a minimum wage worker’s monthly salary.
While a number of anti-smoking groups praise Honduras for its attempts at reducing/eliminating smoking, it may prove difficult to enforce.
Jose Martinez, and 38-year-old 20-year smoker said, “Police won’t be able to enforce it because they can barely keep up with the crime wave that has been overwhelming us to be able to go after those who are smoking at home.”
According to Honduran health authorities, about 30 percent of the country’s population smokes, and nine out of ten Hondurans living in a home with at least one smoker suffer from acute bronchitis. The Health Department claims that for every dollar the tobacco industry makes in Honduras, the state spends $10 to fight smoke-related diseases.