“We can’t enact this law in a rushed an improvised manner. We must look for the best solution so that this law lasts for many years,” Independent Democratic Union (UDI) senator Gonzalo Uriarte began, according to Chilean newspaper La Tercera.
“What we want is to prevent chronic illnesses and stop smoke-related deaths. Unfortunately, until now, there hasn’t been a single study indicating that tobacco doesn’t negatively affect one’s health. On the contrary, all studies point to the fact that there is a direct relation between tobacco consumption and chronic illnesses like cardiovascular problems and cancer.”
“One of the most important aspects we’ve added to the legislation is that people are prohibited to smoke in enclosed spaces that are public or private. This is a signal we want to give the community,” Uriarte continued.
“We’re not trying to start a holy war between smokers and non-smokers. We’re only trying to protect the lives of people, especially young and old people, who are most vulnerable and exposed to chronic diseases.”
Other politicians on board with the proposal supported Uriarte’s comments, adding that they are hopeful for the passage of the anti-smoking legislation.
“We’re achieving a good thing,” said Socialist Party senator Fulvio Rossi. “We’re protecting minors, not only in enclosed spaces, but also in open ones. We know that minors attend sporting events and cultural shows. If they see, for example, someone smoking in a stadium, that person is contaminating the air they breathe and increasing their risk of illness.”
Rossi added, “This is a tremendously important project from a health point of view. I appreciated the level of agreement we’ve reached in the Ministry of Health’s commission. I hope that the law not only promoted environments free of tobacco smoke but also reduced the number of children who consume tobacco products.”
National Renovation (RN) senator Francisco Chahuan agreed with colleagues, adding that he is optimistic about the changes made to the legislation since the last votes occurred in Chile’s Chamber of Deputes.
“We’ve almost initiated the project and we’ve modeled our legislation after the most stringent anti-tobacco laws in the developed world,” Chahuan concluded.