Salud Pública de México
Print version ISSN 0036-3634
VALDES-SALGADO, Raydel; HERNANDEZ AVILA, Mauricio and SEPULVEDA AMOR, Jaime. El consumo de tabaco en la Región Americana: elementos para un programa de acción. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2002, vol.44, suppl.1, pp. s125-s135. ISSN 0036-3634. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0036-36342002000700018.
Tobacco consumption is one of the most important public health challenges faced in the Americas. This is not only due to the great number of deaths attributable to smoking, many of which are premature, but also to the high economic and social costs of medical care and the burden of disease and disability imposed by tobacco consumption on health systems and on the population. In the regional epidemiologic situation, South American countries are characterized by the highest consumption rates, followed by the Andean region and Mexico; Central American and Caribbean countries have the lowest smoking prevalences. Only the United States and Canada have been able to hold back the smoking epidemic; the rest of the hemisphere shows stable or increasing smoking rates. In the region, age of smoking initiation has decreased and the number of women who smoke has increased. This article reviews the current tobacco control measures in Latin American legislations and analyzes selected regional characteristics such as the structure of young populations, control measures that are weak or scarce, and the world production of tobacco. There is a compelling need to establish economic, population-based, and legislative procedures leading to a gradual reduction of the current tobacco consumption rates. This paper advances a comprehensive action plan against tobacco consumption.
Keywords : tobacco consumption; control measures; Americas.