In 1992, the Costa Rican parliament deliberated on a bill providing a far reaching smoking ban in work places and public transport. Consequently, BAT and PMI started a huge counteroffensive. Via a law firm, the companies awarded a research contract to the Pollution Laboratory Director at the University of Costa Rica. The result was: inadequate ventilation – not secondhand smoke – is the main reason for poor indoor quality. In 1995, a severely weakened version of the law went into force. Anticipating an amendment of the law in 2009, another BAT financed study predicted, that the intended smoking ban would lead to loss in sales in the hospitality industry. The national hotel and restaurant associations therefore vehemently advocated for the preservation of designated smoking areas. Much later, in March 2012, Costa Rica’s president signed a comprehensive tobacco control law. Since then, smoking at work places and stations as well as in bars, parks, and sports arenas is banned.
Tobacco industry success in Costa Rica: the importance of FCTC article 5.3. (2012)