Table 2

Summary of pro-tobacco industry attempts to subvert the smoke-free law in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina (2005–2009)

Creation of ‘controversy’ in the media
  1. Lack of scientific evidence

  2. Economic loss for restaurants and bars

  3. Difficulty in enforcing the law

  4. Discrimination of smokers

  5. Excessive governmental interference in the private life

  6. Authoritarianism/Nazism

  1. On a television show, the owner of a cafeteria who self-identified as a doctor claimed that there was ‘no scientific evidence’ on SHS and disease

  2. A newspaper article compared the government of Santa Fe and its smoke-free law public health policy with the Nazism

Use of possible tobacco industry allies
  1. Economic loss for restaurants and bars

  2. Discrimination against smokers

  1. A new bars and restaurants' association was formed and requested a meeting with legislators to modify the law

  2. A smokers' rights-like group was organised through the internet circulating emails calling for non-compliance with the law

Modification of the law
Spanish, Chilean and Buenos Aires City Law models (‘accommodation language’)An amendment bill was introduced in the Santa Fe legislature to allow DSAs in all public places and the owners of workplaces the possibility of choosing their own policies voluntarily
  1. Unconstitutionality of the law

  2. Discrimination against smokers

  1. BAT filed a lawsuit against the Santa Fe law

  2. A bar owner in the city of Rosario filed a lawsuit against the Santa Fe law and the Rosario ordinance

A weak national bill supported by Senators from tobacco grower provinces, which would turn back the strong provincial laws, was introduced in the Senate
  • DSAs, designated smoking areas; SHS, secondhand tobacco smoke.