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Attention All Smokers from Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico

Attention All Smokers

I believe that one of the many reasons we moved to Ajijic, Lake Chapala over 15 years ago was that it was getting very difficult to find a place that one could smoke in Toronto.

On arrival to Ajijic, Lake Chapala there were no such restrictions in place and one could smoke freely anywhere as it were. Of course, you might run into the odd rabid anti-smoker but that was to be expected.

Now it would seem that last week-end federal officials closed several restaurants and bars in Guadalajara for not adhering to the General Law for Tobacco Control.

Many of these establishments in Jalisco still allow their patrons to smoke ever though the law states they must have separate smoking areas.

Although the details are still sketchy, a team from the Federal Sanitation Protection Commission ( Cofepris) is thought to have visited approximately 40 restaurants in the city.

To reopen, owners of the closed restaurants need to make their establishments 80% smoke-free with outdoor or enclosed smoking areas only and put up the appropriate signs or outlaw smoking altogether.

On the other side of the argument the National Chamber of the Restaurant and Food Industry (Canirac) is furious about the raids and suggests that closure over smoking are hurting an industry already badly affected last year by the H1N1 crises. They went on to say that they are victims of a very severe law that citizens still don’t fully understand.

Actually, the federal anti-tobacco law is quite clear:

– Public areas must be 100% free of smoke. (These include restaurants, bars, schools and public buildings.)

– Owners of bars and restaurants can construct outside areas for smokers, but they must also be isolated.

– Owners can be fined between around 5,500 and 550,000 pesos.

– Other punishments include a warning, temporary or permanent closure or up to 36 hours in jail.

Perhaps the problem with the law is nobody really knows who is responsible for enforcing it.

Jalisco Health Minister, Afonso Petersen, explained that until a Jalisco state commission for the protection of sanitation is set up, it will be the responsibility of the federal government to enforce the no-smoking law.

It would appear to me that this might be a swell time to consider quitting or stopping (no one likes a quitter) smoking.

It is becoming very difficult to smoke comfortably anywhere other than your own home (and even that can be difficult depending on your non-smoking family members) and no one wishes to put our restaurants or bars in jeopardy.

There are many ways to stop smoking but the latest and most successful method for some seems to be Chantix (or Champix here in Ajijic, Lake Chapala). This process allows you to gradually stop and even pick the day you wish to stop smoking.

So if someone in a bar or restaurant asks you to please not smoke or to go outside to do so please listen to them and put out your cigarette or move to the designated area.

We all want a healthy life here in our paradise of Ajijic, Lake Chapala and not smoking is a very positive step towards that healthy life.

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