Last updated: August 1, 2022
Mexico became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on February 27, 2005.
Smoke Free Places
Smoking is completely prohibited indoors in primary and secondary schools and in federal government facilities. In all other public places (referred to as “places with public access”) and workplaces, 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.
Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship
The law bans most forms of tobacco advertising and promotion but allows advertising and promotion aimed only at adults through adult magazines, personal communication by mail or within establishments exclusively for adult access. There are some restrictions on tobacco sponsorship and the publicity of such sponsorship.
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.
Cigarette Contents and Disclosures
The law does not grant the authority to regulate the contents of tobacco products. The law requires that manufacturers and importers disclose to government authorities and the public information on the contents and emissions of their products.
The law prohibits the sale of tobacco products via vending machines, the internet, and in primary and secondary schools, as well as the sale of single cigarettes and small packets of cigarettes. The sale of tobacco products is prohibited to persons under the age of 18.
The law prohibits the trade, sale, distribution, display, promotion, and production of any object that resembles tobacco but is not tobacco, which includes e-cigarettes. However, there have been several amparo lawsuits, a form of injunctive relief, brought by individual retailers challenging the provision of the law banning e-cigarettes. In some of these cases, the court has sided with the retailers, permitting only those retailers who were parties to those cases to sell e-cigarettes. In an en banc decision, the full Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico found the interpretation of Art. 16(VI) banning e-cigarettes unconstitutional; however, this ruling does not automatically toss out the ban on e-cigarettes under Art. 16(VI). Instead, if a retailer wants to sell e-cigarettes, he/she must bring a court case to declare the unconstitutionality of the ban in his/her specific case. Thus, for now, e-cigarettes remain prohibited.
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: 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. The Ministry of Health has issued several subsequent agreements containing updated sets of health warnings to appear on smoked and smokeless tobacco product packaging.
This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff in consultation with in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.