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The tobacco-fighting president battling lung cancer

By AFP

Added 26th August 2019 06:38 AM

The president increased taxes on cigarettes, restricted sales so that manufacturers could no longer sell multiple varieties of a brand, and introduced a groundbreaking law.

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The president increased taxes on cigarettes, restricted sales so that manufacturers could no longer sell multiple varieties of a brand, and introduced a groundbreaking law.

HEALTH

Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez, a physician who has campaigned against the influence of big tobacco companies, is being treated for a malignant lung tumor, his office said.

Vazquez, a 79-year old oncologist in his second term as president, announced last week that the tumor -- discovered during a routine check-up -- was likely cancerous.

Citing a medical report, his office said that "the presence of a malign tumor has been confirmed."

The statement did not say if the president, whose term ends in March 2020, would step down while undergoing treatment.

 hh Vazquez, 79, is in his second term as president of Uruguay

 

Vazquez led his leftist Frente Amplio party to power in 2005 at the start of his first five-year term in office. He was elected again in 2015.

Uruguay in 2006 became the first Latin American country to ban smoking in public spaces, and only the fifth worldwide.

Vazquez increased taxes on cigarettes, restricted sales so that manufacturers could no longer sell multiple varieties of a brand, and introduced a groundbreaking law mandating that graphic health warnings cover 80 percent of cigarette packages.

US giant Philip Morris sued Uruguay, arguing that its cigarette regulations were excessive, and sought damages for lost profits.

The International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) of the World Bank dismissed the claims in 2016 and ordered Philip Morris to pay $7 million to the South American country.

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TOBACCO: Key facts

(Source: World Health Organisation)

 

• Tobacco kills up to half of its users.

• Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

• Around 80% of the world's 1.1 billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.

• Second-hand smoke causes more than 1.2 million premature deaths per year.

• 65 000 children die each year from illnesses attributable to second-hand smoke.

• Over 1.6 billion people, or 22% of the world's population, are protected by comprehensive national smoke-free laws.

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President Tabare Vazquez at a glance

hhhServing as the 41st and current President of Uruguay, Vazquez has been in power since 2015 (second term). Here, he pictured on December 10, 2017 attending the opening ceremony of the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 

 hhhh Vázquez was first elected President on 31 October 2004, took office on 1 March 2005, and relinquished the office on 1 March 2010. On July 17 this year, he was pictured greeting his Argentinian counterpart Mauricio Macri during the 54th Summit of Heads of State of Mercosur and Associated States in Santa Fe, Argentina.

 

 hh Vázquez has four children. On September 25, 2018, in New York City, the Uruguayan leader addressed the United Nations General Assembly.


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