Next time you happen to be in Mexico and fancy popping out for a smoke, it's going to be much, much more difficult than it was previously. The country has just implemented a law that sees smoking banned in all public spaces. That’s right – even in the open air.
The law came into action on January 15 and it applies to places like hotels, beaches and parks – pretty much anywhere, in fact. The only places where you can still smoke is in private homes or in private outdoor areas, meaning that Mexico’s anti-smoking laws are some of the strictest in the world.
And before you plan on pleading ignorance as a tourist: the laws will apply to foreign nationals, too. Those caught smoking could face fines of up to $300 (£240) – and, if they refuse to comply, be jailed for up to 36 hours.
All of which might seem quite extreme, but Mexico certainly isn’t the only country that has clamped down severely on smokers. Barcelona has banned smoking on the beach, while Costa Rica has banned smoking in places where others could be exposed to second-hand smoke. Hungary also has laws forbidding people from lighting up within five metres of schools and universities.
So could more countries follow Mexico’s example? Well, potentially. It's fairly common these days for smoking to be banned in enclosed public spaces. Plus, from New Zealand to the UK, plenty of governments have embraced the idea of a smoke-free future – meaning that bans like Mexico’s could well become the norm.
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