|Young people smoke on La Plaza del Chorro in La Candelaria.|
|A cigarette 'display case', about a meter wide|
in a La Candelaria Internet cafe/phoning place frequented
by young people.
Colombia has supposedly implemented World Health Organization anti-smoking policies. The failing, as usual, is enforcement.
The law prohibits the selling of cigarettes by the stick, known as loosies. But stores and street vendors continuing selling loosies openly and with no apparent fear of punishment. All the police need to do is hire some kid to try to buy loosies. Whereever he or she succeeds, take away the seller's cigarettes. On the second offense, close their business for a day. The loosie sellers are obvious, anyway, since they keep their cigarette boxes wide open.
|Packs from contraband cigarettes. Notice that they |
don't carry the Colombian health warnings.
|A street vendor's box offering candies and cigarettes |
by the stick. Why else would the boxes be opened?
|A young woman lights up a loosie on the Plaza del Chorro.|
Notice the police in the background.
In fact, according to El Tiempo, more than 27% of Colombian young people smoke, compared to only 17% of Colombian adults.
The results of all this aren't minor. El Tiempo reports that a every five seconds a Colombia dies from smoking - more than 26,000 people per year. This means a huge cost for the country's health care system and lots of lost economic productivity.
|A vendor's cart on La Plaza del Chorro. The cigarette boxes have been opened, but reclosed, perhaps because there are cops nearby - or because it's no-tobacco day.|
|A man walks away from the cart smoking a just-purchased loosie cigarette.|
|Boys stand smoking outside the internet cafe with the Mustang ad.|