February 29, 2008 / 10:43 PM / 12 years ago

Uruguayan lawmakers ban tobacco advertising

MONTEVIDEO, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Uruguay’s Congress passed a law on Friday banning tobacco advertising, the latest anti-smoking measure in a government-led crackdown, a parliamentary spokesman said.

President Tabare Vazquez, an oncologist, has taken a tough line on smoking. In 2006, his government passed the stiffest restrictions on smoking in Latin America by banning smoking in all public buildings, from bars to offices and shopping malls.

The latest measure, which Vazquez must still sign into law, prohibits the tobacco advertising on the radio and television, in newspapers and magazines and on billboards. It does not cover Internet advertising.

"In an organized society, the first priority is the right to life. No one has the right to sell death," ruling party deputy Jorge Orrico said during the debate in Congress.

Nearly a third of Uruguay’s 3.2 million people smoke and the government says smoking causes some 5,000 deaths per year. (Reporting by Conrado Hornos; writing by Helen Popper; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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