Costa Rican legislators approved new reforms to the country’s weak anti-smoking regulations. The new bill, which now awaits President Laura Chinchilla’s approval, includes prohibiting smoking in bus and in taxi, in all work places, public buildings like restaurants and also inside bars. Legislators passed the law with a vote of 45 in favor and 2 were against. The vote came in spite of a charge by 10 lawmakers to send the law to the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) for to review the constitutionality of the new reforms.

The Legislative Assembly did not receive a formal notification from the Sala IV in time for to prevent the vote.

The legislation would make some of the not powerful anti-smoking regulations in Latin America, in a new measure long shown to be accepted by the majority of Costa Rican inhabitants. The legislation would bring Costa Rica up to international standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO), and at a time recognized by approximately 100 countries.

The laws also calls for cigarette packages to be taxed an extra ₡20 (4 cents) per cig, and sales of individual cigarettes would be prohibited. The bill would require cigarette packaging to display text and health photo warnings on at least 50 per cent of pack.

“Everyone know the positive effects of the new law, smokers and even non-smokers,” explained Teresita Arrieta, who runs the Smoke-Free Spaces Program for Costa Rica’s Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. “This is not a battle against all smokers. It’s a real fight for the inhabitants health.”