Cuba, the world's most famous cigar exporter, has banned public smoking.
With a convert's zeal, Cuban leader Fidel Castro began anti-smoking
campaigns after he kicked his iconic cigar habit in 1986. Now he is
joining countries such as Ireland and Bhutan in restricting the habit.
Public transport, shops, offices and restaurants will be largely
off-limits to smokers.
Castro reportedly said of cigars in 2003 that "the best thing to do is
give them to your enemy". But cigar-factory workers often get a couple
free every day, and tobacco products are subsidised in Cuba. Every adult
born before 1955 can buy four packs of cigarettes a month for just 2
pesos each, equivalent to 10 US cents - about a third of the normal
price. There is no indication that the rations will change. At least a
third of Cuban adults and 20 per cent of teenagers aged 13 to 15 are
smokers, although it is illegal to sell tobacco to under-16s.
From issue 2484 of New Scientist magazine, 29 January 2005, page 4