Last updated: October 4, 2019
The Democratic Republic of the Congo became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on January 26, 2006.
Smoke Free Places
Smoking is prohibited in enclosed places in which services are provided to the public, thereby encompassing many workplaces and enclosed public places. The law also prohibits smoking in places where children and the elderly are taken in and cared for, healthcare establishments, educational facilities, and cultural and athletic facilities. However, smoking is allowed in designated areas of bars and restaurants.
Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship
There is no comprehensive ban on advertising and promotion, but advertising via television, radio, billboards, and other print media is prohibited. Point of sale advertising, however, is allowed. There are some restrictions on tobacco sponsorship, including activities aimed at minors and athletic events, but publicity of allowed sponsorship is permitted.
Tobacco Packaging and Labeling
All packs of cigarettes and cigars must display two of four text-only health warnings on 30 percent of the front and back of packaging. Graphic health warnings will be required to cover 50 percent of the front and back of packaging once Law No. 18/035 is fully implemented. The law does not require health warnings on smokeless tobacco products. Misleading terms such as “light” and “low” are prohibited on tobacco packaging, but other misleading packaging (e.g., colors, numbers, and symbols) are not prohibited.
Cigarette Contents and Disclosures
The law grants the authority to regulate the contents of cigarettes; however, no subsequent regulations have been issued. The law requires that manufacturers and importers disclose to government authorities information on the contents and emissions of their products.
The law prohibits the sale of tobacco products via vending machines. However, there are no restrictions on internet sales or the sale of single cigarettes or small packets of cigarettes. The sale of tobacco products is prohibited to persons under the age of 18.
Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation
Departmental Administrative Order No. 04/DIP/005/90 setting the criteria for the assessment of advertising for tobacco and alcoholic beverages is the primary law on tobacco control and covers many aspects of tobacco control, including but not limited to: restrictions on smoking in public places, production and sale of tobacco products and tobacco packaging and labeling measures. The provisions have been amended several times, including by Ministerial Administrative Order No. 008/CAB/MIN.INFO.PRES&COM.NAT/2007 of July 9, 2007. Administrative Order No. 1250/CAB/MIN/SP/O20/AQ/2007 of July 19, 2007 restricts the use of tobacco products in public, and regulates advertising targeting minors, sales to minors, and packaging and labeling. It was subsequently amended by Administrative Order No. 1250/CAB/MIN/SP/O20/JT of December 28, 2007.
Law No. 18/035 of December 13, 2018, Setting the Fundamental Principles for the Organization of Public Health, includes a number of tobacco control measures. Once the law is fully implemented, which requires the issuance of administrative orders/regulations, the law will require graphic health warnings on 50% of the front and back of cigar and cigarette packaging, in addition to measures regulating smoke-free places, and tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Order No. 1250/CAB/MIN/SPHP/041/DCA/PNLCT/2022 of November 26, 2022 Banning the Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship of Tobacco, Tobacco Products and Derived Products and Smoking in Public Places prohibits smoking in all indoor public places, workplaces and public transport; and bans nearly all advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco.
This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff in consultation with in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.