Last updated: March 4, 2020
Uruguay became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on February 27, 2005.
Smoke Free Places
Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed public places, enclosed workplaces, and public transportation. In addition, smoking is prohibited within the outdoor premises of health and educational institutions.
Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship
The law prohibits all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
Tobacco Packaging and Labeling
Plain packaging is required for all cigarette and roll-your-own tobacco products available for retail sale as of December 21, 2019. One of four authorized pictures and accompanying text warnings must be displayed on 80 percent of the two principal display areas of each tobacco product package. Warnings must be distributed evenly across each brand and new warnings are to be issued every 12 months. Misleading packaging and labeling, including terms such as “light” and “low tar” and other signs, is prohibited. Further, each tobacco brand may only possess a single form of presentation.
Cigarette Contents and Disclosures
The law grants the authority to regulate the contents of cigarettes; the regulations issued to date ban only the use of ammonia in tobacco products. 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 and in educational facilities, healthcare facilities, stadiums/arenas, playgrounds, and places where the public is primarily young people and teenagers. There are no restrictions, however, on the sale of tobacco products via the internet. The law prohibits 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 bans the commercialization, importation, and advertising of e-cigarettes, as well as their registration as a trademark or patent. The use of e-cigarettes is prohibited where smoking is prohibited, which includes all enclosed public places, workplaces, and public transport.
Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation
Law No. 18.256 is the principal law governing tobacco control policies in Uruguay and covers smoke free places; tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; packaging and labeling of tobacco products; and enforcement and sanctions, among other regulatory measures. The law was amended by Law No. 19.244, which institutes a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) Decree No. 284/008 is the implementing regulation for Law No. 18.256 and also addresses smoke free places, tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and tobacco packaging and labeling policies. Decree No. 317/014 amends the advertising and promotion provisions of Decree No. 284/008, in addition to establishing the requirements for price lists to be displayed at points of sale.
Decree No. 284/008 authorized the MoPH to issue regulations that prescribe and update health warnings on tobacco packaging every 12 months. Pursuant to this mandate, the MoPH has issued several ordinances on pack warnings. Ordinance No. 466 regulates the content, placement and appearance of health warnings on tobacco product packaging. Ordinance No. 514 further elaborates the ban on misleading tobacco packaging and labeling (pursuant to Law No. 18.256) by mandating that every brand of tobacco product may have only one form of packaging presentation. MoPH Decree No. 287/009 increased the size of pack warnings from 50 percent (as originally authorized by Law No. 18.256) to 80 percent. Most recently, Ordinance No. 83 prescribes the content for the eighth round of health warnings. In addition, Law No. 18.256 was amended by Law No. 19.723 to require the plain packaging of tobacco products once in effect in December 2019. Decree No. 120/019 contains additional details about plain packaging requirements, and was subsequently amended by Decree No. 282/022.
This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff. No in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts were consulted for the review.