Vega Atencio v. Ministry of Justice

A prisoner presented an appeal of protection against the Ministry of Justice claiming that his right to health and his right to life were being violated because his cellmates were allowed to smoke, which affected his personal health. The Court observed that the Regulatory Law on Smoking (Ley Reguladora del Fumado), which requires that places be smoke-free, excludes the National Prison System. Because there is an expressed authorization and no legal prohibition, the plaintiff’s cellmates and other inmates can smoke throughout the prison.  The Court dismissed the plaintiff's case, but recommended that the prison relocate inmates who, like the plaintiff, do not want to be exposed to smoke to areas where the impact of smoking is reduced.


Vega Atencio v. Ministry of Justice, Res. No 2006017867, Expediente: 06-011793-0007-CO, Corte Suprema de Justicia [Supreme Court](2006).

  • Costa Rica
  • Dec 12, 2006
  • Supreme Court (Corte Suprema de Justicia)


Plaintiff Damas Vega Atencio

Defendant Ministry of Justice

Legislation Cited

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product