World No Tobacco Day / US-Mexico Meeting
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World No Tobacco Day / US-Mexico Meeting

Photo by:   Gobierno de México
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Paloma Duran By Paloma Duran | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Wed, 05/31/2023 - 11:02

World No Tobacco Day. Deputy Minister of Prevention and Health Promotion, Hugo López-Gatell, said that despite the tobacco industry's attempts to make it seem non-lethal, Mexicans must remember its dangers. "Tobacco, while being legal, is a deadly drug."

Mexico is among the 24 member countries of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) with 100% smoke-free spaces. Furthermore, it is one of the nine countries that have implemented a comprehensive ban on tobacco product advertising, promotion and sponsorship, explains Vivian Pérez, Adviser on Non-Communicable Diseases and Health Determinants, PAHO. In Mexico, tobacco-related illnesses cause the most preventable deaths worldwide. Around 63,000 people in Mexico die from tobacco-related causes each year. Around 11% of them had never smoked but were exposed to secondhand smoke. 

Meeting With US Representative. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador met yesterday with US Homeland Security Advisor Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall to discuss key issues, such as migration and the fentanyl crisis. "We talked about not using these issues for political purposes and not blaming Mexico, as a US senator did." 

This month, Title 42, one of former US President Donald Trump's toughest immigration policies, was terminated. In March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed this policy, which prevents asylum seekers from applying for US protection and allows the US to send migrants to either their country of origin or Mexico within the first few hours of their arrival. According to CDC authorities, the policy was necessary due to the increase in COVID-19 infections in the US. Since the policy’s implementation, more than 1.8 million deportations have taken place, according to US government data.

Fentanyl, on the other hand, represents one of the most critical healthcare issues for Mexico and the US and has been a key discussion topic for both countries. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), fentanyl is a synthetic opioid considered 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin and 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.  In 2022, fentanyl deaths accounted for 66 percent of drug-related deaths in the US. While the price of fentanyl is at its lowest point, consumption is increasing in Mexico and the US, according to authorities.

China-Mexico Efforts Against Fentanyl. The president said China is supporting the fight against fentanyl trafficking into Mexico. "Progress is being made in the control of the ports. There is a very good attitude from the Chinese government. We are going to ask them to inform us who is acquiring these chemicals, where they are coming from, to which ports they are going. We do not want to blame anyone because we do not gain anything from confrontation."

Last week, the president announced that an agreement had been reached between China and South Korea to bar the entry of fentanyl into Mexico. In early April, the president sent a letter to his counterpart in China, Xi Jinping, asking for help in the fight against fentanyl trafficking, amid growing criticism from US politicians. However, Xi Jinping denied that fentanyl trafficking originated in China and said the US should take responsibility for its own problems.

Photo by:   Gobierno de México

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