Last updated: March 10, 2020
Rwanda became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on January 17, 2006.
Smoke Free Places
The law prohibits smoking in all indoor public places, indoor workplaces, and on public transport, but permits the owner or manager of the premises to create a designated smoking area within the premises. Designated smoking areas must meet certain technical requirements, including separate ventilation.
Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship
Tobacco advertising is generally allowed. However, free distribution of tobacco products and brand stretching are prohibited. Tobacco industry sponsorship of cultural and sporting events is prohibited; other forms of tobacco industry sponsorship are not prohibited.
Tobacco Packaging and Labeling
The law requires text-only health warnings to cover 30 percent of the front and back surfaces of all tobacco product packaging and labeling. There is only one prescribed warning, and thus no rotation of messages. Misleading terms such as “light” and “low tar” are prohibited on packaging, but other misleading packaging (e.g., colors, numbers, and symbols) is 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 does not require 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 in educational facilities, playgrounds, stadiums, healthcare institutions, and drug production companies and pharmacies. The law also prohibits the sale of waterpipe tobacco. However, there are no restrictions on the sale of single cigarette sticks, small packets of cigarettes, or the sale of tobacco products via vending machines or the internet. The sale of tobacco products is prohibited to persons under the age of 18.
Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation
Law No. 08/2013 of March 1, 2013 Relating to the Control of Tobacco is the primary tobacco control law in Rwanda. It regulates smoking in public places, places a few restrictions on tobacco advertising, and details requirements of packaging and labeling. The Ministry of Health has issued two orders containing implementing details – (1) Ministerial Order No. 20/33 of June 9, 2015 Determining the Characteristics of Smoking Areas and the Content Which Shall Be Included in the Notice to Be Displayed in the Smoking Area; and (2) Ministerial Order No. 20/34 of June 9, 2015 Determining the Content and Design of the Warning to Be Put on the Package of Tobacco and Tobacco Products. Penalties associated with violations of the smoking ban are contained in the Penal Code.
This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff. No in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts reviewed our analysis.