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Mexico became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on May 28, 2004.
Smoke Free Places: In Mexico, smoking is completely prohibited indoors only in primary and secondary schools and in federal government facilities. In all other public places (referred to in the law as “places with public access”) and workplaces (“interior public or private work areas”), isolated indoor areas exclusively for smoking may be provided. Sub-national jurisdictions can enact smoke free laws that are more stringent than the national law. In 2008, Mexico City banned smoking in some indoor workplaces and public places, including restaurants and bars.
Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship: Mexico’s law bans most means of tobacco advertising and promotion but provides an exemption for advertising and promotion aimed only at adults through adult magazines, personal communication by mail or within establishments exclusively for adult access. Any form of sponsorship as a means of placing the elements of any brand of tobacco products or that promotes the purchase and use of tobacco products by the population is prohibited. Tobacco industry contributions to “socially responsible” causes are common practice in Mexico. A comprehensive tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship ban is thought to be constitutionally permissible in Mexico.
Tobacco Packaging and Labeling: Rotating pictorial and text health warnings are required to cover at least 30 percent of the front, 100 percent of the back, and 100 percent of one side of smoked tobacco products packages. For smokeless tobacco products, a text warning is required and it must cover 100 percent of one side face. The law also prohibits misleading tobacco product packaging and labeling and requires the qualitative (descriptive) disclosure of constituents and emissions.
Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation: The General Law on Tobacco Control is the principal law governing tobacco control in Mexico. The law covers many aspects of tobacco control, including, but not limited to: definitions of key terms; smoke free policies; tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; packaging and labeling; and enforcement. The Regulations of the General Law on Tobacco Control were passed in 2009 and regulate the General Law on the subjects of health licensing; packaging and labeling; advertising, promotion and sponsorship; restrictions on public smoking; and enforcement authorities and sanctions, among others. In December 2009, the Secretary of Health issued an agreement making public the provisions for the formulation, approval, application, utilization, and incorporation of legends, images, pictograms, health messages, and information which must appear on all tobacco product packages and all their outside packaging and labeling. Notwithstanding FCTC Article 5.3 requiring Parties to protect their public health policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry, these obligatory provisions resulted from an agreement between the Ministry of Health and the tobacco industry, and were issued pursuant to the Secretary’s authority under the General Law on Tobacco Control and the Regulations of the General Law on Tobacco Control. In November 2012, the Ministry of Health issued a new agreement containing an updated set of pictorial health warnings to appear on smoked and smokeless tobacco product packaging. These new health warnings are effective through March 23, 2014.
This country’s legal measures were collaboratively reviewed by an in-country lawyer and our legal staff.
Policy Fact Sheets
Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship
Packaging and Labeling