• Costa Rica Real Estate
  • Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Costa Rica’s Social Security System is going to text you to stop smoking

January 22, 2014

Costa Rica’s Social Security System, or the Caja, wants to reduce the number of people who smoke, as well as the high costs public hospitals incur in treating patients with tobacco-related illness.

In 2013, the Caja spent almost ₡90 billion ($179 million) on treating patients with smoking-related cardiovascular disease and cancer, the two leading causes of death in Costa Rica, according to a Caja report released Wednesday.

Caja Medical Director María Villalta Bonilla said the anti-smoking campaign includes distributing information and promoting recreational activities.

“Most of (the campaign) targets young people, who are the most vulnerable population,” she said.

The five-year initiative includes ads in national media and on mobile platforms, and sports and arts activities in schools. Suggested activities include drama, music and dance clubs, among others, Villalta said.

The Caja this month launched the campaign, which will be paid for by taxes and fines from the country’s anti-smoking law, by sending short text messages to mobile phones and posting them on social media.

In 2012, President Laura Chinchilla signed a law banning smoking in public places such as bars, restaurants, public buildings, bus stops and taxi stands.

A survey by the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Institute that year estimated the number of smokers in Costa Rica at 480,000 people, mostly men over 20. On average, 10 people die every day from tobacco-related diseases, the Caja claims.

You may be interested

Rincón de la Vieja Volcano registers Monday evening eruptions
Costa Rica
1273 views
Costa Rica
1273 views

Rincón de la Vieja Volcano registers Monday evening eruptions

The Tico Times - June 1, 2020

Rincón de la Vieja Volcano in northern Costa Rica erupted twice Monday, sending columns of gas 1.5 to 2 km…

Costa Rica adds 28 new coronavirus cases, 7 recoveries
Costa Rica
20231 views
Costa Rica
20231 views

Costa Rica adds 28 new coronavirus cases, 7 recoveries

Alejandro Zúñiga - June 1, 2020

Costa Rica confirmed 28 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day, totaling 1,084 cumulative known cases, the Health…

Discounted prices on dental implants in Costa Rica through July 2020
Dental Tourism
2121 views
Dental Tourism
2121 views

Discounted prices on dental implants in Costa Rica through July 2020

Patrick Goodness / Goodness Dental - June 1, 2020

The COVID crisis has crippled the tourism industry and has greatly diminished the once-thriving Costa Rica dental tourism sector. Leading…