Argentina has approved a nationwide ban on tobacco advertising and smoking in public places.
After years of debate, lawmakers in the lower house of the Argentine Congress overwhelmingly approved the law on Wednesday over the strong opposition of the tobacco industry. In addition to the bans on advertising and smoking in enclosed public spaces, the new law requires manufacturers to put health warnings on cigarette packages.
Argentine health minister Juan Manzur hailed the legislature's action, saying that "at last" Argentina has a law controlling tobacco use.
The Argentine government estimates that about eight million of its people smoke, nearly a third of its adult population. Tobacco-related diseases are thought to contribute to about 40,000 deaths a year.
In 2006, Uruguay became the first Latin American nation to ban smoking in public places and several other countries in the region have since followed.