San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Hotel owners to request changes in anti-smoking law

The Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH) will ask the government to modify the law that prohibits smoking in public places, because hotels, restaurants and casinos have seen a 25 percent drop in customers during the law’s first year of implementation, according to the chamber.

The CCH hosted a forum on Wednesday to review the law to determine if it allows special smoking areas at businesses.

Lawyer and former Tourism Minister Walter Niehaus said at the forum that the smoking ban in hotels reduces the country’s competitiveness, adding that he believes tourism business owners are fully open to the possibility of creating smokers-only spaces in their establishments.

Health Ministry officials oppose modification of the law, but they said they will wait for the CCH proposal to analyze it.

The anti-smoking law, or Control of Tobacco and its Harmful Effects on Health Law entered into force in March last year.

Contact L. Arias at

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