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Panama leads fight against smoking, expert assures

Panama, Feb 7 (Prensa Latina) Panama is a regional leader in tobacco control, the representative of the Ministry of Health, Reina Roa, said at the COP10, which is on its second day of sessions on Tuesday. During the 10th Conference of the Parties hosted by Panama to evaluate the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on these issues, the coordinator of the National Tobacco Control Commission highlighted the effectiveness of this tool with Law 13, approved in 2008.

Panama was the first country in the world to have a total ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products, she said.

According to the expert, this ban has been successful in conventional media, but there is still a great challenge, which are the social networks, through which the youngest are seeing advertising in favor of tobacco products.

“An advertising that promotes them as if they were healthy, but the reality is that these products damage health, generate addiction and release a set of toxic substances,” she remarked.

She also mentioned that Law 315 prohibits the commercialization of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and vapes.

In Panama, statistics for 2022 showed that there were 153,444 users of tobacco products, representing 5.0 percent of the population aged 15 years and older.

Official statistics indicate that nearly 2,000 deaths in a year are related to tobacco, since eight of ten leading causes of death are associated with the use of these products or exposure to their toxic smoke.