Last updated: September 22nd 2017


Costa Rica became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on November 19, 2008.

Smoke Free Places: The Tobacco Control Law and its Regulations contain a list of places where smoking is prohibited. This is an extensive list that includes, all indoor workplaces and all public transport and virtually all indoor public places. Some outdoor places are also required to be smoke free, including outdoor workplaces; stadiums, arenas and venues with mass concentration of people; gas stations; and ports and public transit stops.

Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship: Almost all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship are banned. There are three regulated exemptions: 1) in adult-only venues and events that do not have smoke free space; 2) through direct communication with vendors and adult consumers, conducted face to face and in the home; and 3) point of sale product display, which is restricted to shelves behind the cash register at point of sale, but visibility of products is not prohibited.

Tobacco Packaging and Labeling: Combined picture and text health warnings must occupy 50 percent of the two principal display areas (front and back) of tobacco product packages, placed on the lower portion of the pack, with different warnings on the front and back of the pack. A qualitative warning on constituents and emissions must appear on 100 percent of one of the lateral sides of the tobacco product packaging. The authorized warnings must be rotated in such a way that they are distributed evenly across all tobacco product packaging. The Ministry of Health must update the authorized warnings annually. The contents of the warnings pertain to smoked tobacco products only, even though the law requires all tobacco product packaging to contain health warnings. Misleading terms such as “light” and “low” are prohibited on tobacco packaging, but other misleading packaging (e.g., colors, numbers, and symbols) is not prohibited.

Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation: General Law for the Control of Tobacco and its Harmful Effects on Health, Legislative Decree No. 9028 is the main legislation for tobacco control and regulates, among other things, smoke free places; tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and tobacco packaging and labeling. There are two pieces of implementing legislation that were issued under the General Law: 1) Regulation of the General Law for Control of Tobacco and its Harmful Effects on Health, Executive Decree No. 37185, which regulates smoke free places, and tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and 2) Regulation for the Labeling of Tobacco Products and Tobacco Derivatives, Executive Decree No. 37778-S, which regulates tobacco product packaging and labeling. Directive No. 6095 was issued by the Ministry of Health in July 2013 and contains the design, placement, and contents of the first round of six authorized warnings, which are required on all tobacco product packages as of September 2014. Directive No. 4979 was issued in November 2014 and establishes the second round of authorized warnings. Directive No. 4960 was issued in November 2015 and establishes the third round of authorized warnings.

Review Status

This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff in consultation with in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.