Pura Vida! Initial report from Costa Rica conference

Over 300 representatives from the Americas region are gathered this week in San Jose, Costa Rica for the 4th Latin American and Caribbean Conference on Tobacco OR Health.  This year’s conference is hosted by the Costa Rica Ministry of Health, providing an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the country’s exemplary tobacco control law (Ley 9028) enacted two years ago.  Costa Ricans and their tourist visitors are reaping the benefits of strong enforcement, as well as Costa Rica’s ability to earmark tobacco tax revenue to fund tobacco control (including coverage of treatment).  Costa Rica has long been known as a “green”, eco-friendly country and its tobacco control policy is now world-class.

In the first day of the conference, Global Bridges sponsored a full-day training session for over 50 healthcare professionals.  There are two more plenary sessions on treatment, with speakers from multiple countries sharing their strategies, successes and challenges.  Separate plenary and parallel sessions address other tobacco control policies including smokefree, taxation, strategic litigation, banning tobacco advertising/promotion/sponsorship, and pack labeling.   An upcoming blog will tell the story of the Costa Rica tobacco control law and its results so far.