Country: Mexico

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Search Results Results 1-10 of 14

Vap Labs v. Mexico [Mexico] [January 13, 2021]

Vap Labs asked the Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks (COFEPRIS) about the requirements needed to import and commercialize electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). COFEPRIS responded that the commercialization of e-cigarettes was banned under the scope of Article 16(vi) of the General Law on Tobacco Control, which states: “It is prohibited to trade, sell, distribute, display, promote or produce any object that is not a tobacco product which contains some of the brand elements or any type of design or auditory sign that identifies it with tobacco products.” Vap Labs filed an Amparo action based on alleged violations of constitutional principles. The District Court agreed and ordered COFEPRIS to authorize the importation, sale and marketing of e-cigarettes in Mexico. The COFEPRIS and the Chamber of Deputies of the Congress of Mexico requested the revision of the District Court's decision. They argued that the District Court decision should be void since the import and commercialization ban incorporated in Article 16(vi) does not violate the Mexican Constitution; Article 16(vi) instead establishes reasonable and proportionate restrictions on the exercise of Vap Labs economic freedom. The Supreme Court of Justice for the Second Chamber agreed and ordered the District Court's decision revocation and amendment, declaring Art. 16(vi) constitutional. This is the fifth decision on this issue of the Second chamber. Similar to a previous case, the Court distinguished between systems that operate exclusively with tobacco and those that do not. The Supreme Court of Justice for the Second Chamber clarified that Article 16(vi)’s ban applied only to e-cigarettes, and not to heated tobacco products as these were tobacco products. This ruling applies only to the plaintiff who was a party to this case. See also Saborn Hermanos Sociedad Anonima v. Mexico, 853/2019, Mexican Supreme Court (2020).

Saborn Hermanos Sociedad Anonima v. Mexico [Mexico] [November 25, 2020]

Saborn Hermanos Sociedad Anónima, a chain of cafés, asked the Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks (COFEPRIS) about the requirements needed to manufacture, import, and commercialize electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). COFEPRIS responded that the commercialization of e-cigarettes was banned under the scope of Article 16(vi) of the General Law on Tobacco Control, which states: “It is prohibited to trade, sell, distribute, display, promote or produce any object that is not a tobacco product which contains some of the brand elements or any type of design or auditory sign that identifies it with tobacco products.” Saborn filed an Amparo action alleging a violation of the principles of equality and non-discrimination. The District Court agreed and declared Article 16(vi) contrary to the Political Constitution. However, the COFEPRIS and the Chamber of Deputies of the Congress argued before the Supreme Court of Justice for the Second Chamber that Article 16(vi) establishes reasonable and proportionate restrictions on the exercise of Saborn’s economic freedom. The Supreme Court of Justice for the Second Chamber agreed and ordered the District Court's decision revoked.  This is the fourth decision regarding this issue in the Second chamber, but this marked the first time that the Supreme Court of Justice for the Second Chamber declared Art. 16(vi) constitutional. However, it distinguished between systems that operate exclusively with tobacco and those that do not. The Supreme Court of Justice for the Second Chamber clarified that Article 16(vi)’s ban applied only to e-cigarettes, and not to heated tobacco products as these were tobacco products. This ruling applies only to the plaintiff who was a party to this case.

[Unnamed Actor] v. México [Mexico] [October 02, 2019]

An agent from the Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) confiscated electronic cigarettes from the plaintiff under Article 16(VI) of the General Law on Tobacco Control, which states: "It is prohibited to trade, sell, distribute, display, promote or produce any object that is not a tobacco product which contains some of the brand elements or any type of design or auditory sign that identifies it with tobacco products." The plaintiff filed an Amparo action challenging the interpretation of Article 16. The Ministers of the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) decided unanimously that it is unconstitutional to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes while, on the other hand, the sale of tobacco products is allowed in Mexico. The Court considered that even though the law seeks to protect the right to health, this cannot be done at the cost of an excessive affectation of other goods and rights. The Ministers agreed that prohibiting the sale of electronic cigarettes while the sale of tobacco products is allowed violates the right to equality, and that the measure is not the least restrictive to guarantee other constitutionally protected rights. As a result, they revoked the order from COFEPRIS and ordered the return of the seized goods to the plaintiff.

This ruling applies only to the plaintiff who was a party to this case. However, if the same court issues five judgments with identical holdings, the decision would be binding nationally. This is the third such decision by the Second Chamber.

Jaunait Consulting v. México [Mexico] [July 02, 2019]

The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) determined that electronic cigarettes cannot be banned under the interpretation of Article 16(VI) of the General Law on Tobacco Control, which states: "It is prohibited to trade, sell, distribute, display, promote or produce any object that is not a tobacco product which contains some of the brand elements or any type of design or auditory sign that identifies it with tobacco products." The Court found that this interpretation is unconstitutional since (i) the sale of tobacco products is allowed, and (ii) banning non-tobacco products without a proper justification violates the principles of equality, legality, proportionality, and non-discrimination.

This ruling applies only to the plaintiff who was a party to this case, Juanait Consulting. However, if the same court issues five judgments with identical holdings, the decision would be binding nationally. This is the first such decision by the First Chamber.

Vapeadores de México v. México [Mexico] [November 15, 2017]

Vapeadores de México asked the Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) to whether the import, distribution, and sale of e-cigarettes and e-liquids required the issuance of an authorization or license and/or health permit and what requirements must be met. COFEPRIS responded that the General Law on Tobacco Control does not contemplate that and that the importation and sale of those products are banned under the scope of Article 16(VI), which states: "It is prohibited to trade, sell, distribute, display, promote or produce any object that is not a tobacco product, that contains some of the brand elements or any type of design or auditory sign that identifies it with tobacco products." Unhappy with the response, Vapeadores de México filed an Amparo action alleging violations of the constitutional principles of equality, legality, and non-discrimination.

The Ministers of the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) decided in unanimity that it is unconstitutional to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes while, on the other hand, the sale of tobacco products is allowed in Mexico. The Court upheld previous courts' decisions, considering that even though the law seeks to protect the right to health, this cannot be done at the cost of an excessive affectation of other goods and rights. The Ministers agreed that prohibiting the sale of these products in order to protect public health and the environment violates the right to equality and the proportionality principle since, at the same time, the sale of tobacco products is allowed.

This ruling applies only to the plaintiff who was a party to this case, Vapeadores de México. However, if the same court issues five judgments with identical holdings, the decision would be binding nationally. This is the second such decision by the Second Chamber.

Neri, José Armando Contreras v. Mexico [Mexico] [October 02, 2015]

In 2012, the Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) imposed a fine of more than 60 thousand pesos on a retailer who offered electronic cigarettes in a commercial establishment. Unhappy with the sanction, seller José Armando Contreras Neri filed a lawsuit challenging Article 16 of the General Law on Tobacco Control which states: "It is prohibited to trade, sell, distribute, display, promote or produce any object that is not a tobacco product which contains some of the brand elements or any type of design or auditory sign that identifies it with tobacco products."

The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) determined that the sale of products related to tobacco, such as electronic cigarettes, cannot be prohibited. The Court reasoned that despite the fact that the law seeks to protect health, this cannot be done at the cost of an excessive affectation of other goods and rights. The Ministers agreed that prohibiting the sale of these products to protect public health and the environment violates the right to equality, since at the same time the sale of tobacco is allowed. Thus, they revoked the judgment that prohibited the retailer from selling electronic cigarettes and the fine imposed by COFEPRIS. The seller may continue with the offer of electronic cigarettes as long as it does so in accordance with the laws that regulate the sale of conventional cigarettes.

This ruling applies only to the plaintiff who was a party to this case, José Armando Contreras Neri. However, if the same court issues five judgments with identical holdings, the decision would be binding nationally. This is the first such decision by the Second Chamber.

Balderas Woolrich v. Mexico [Mexico] [March 28, 2011]

The plaintiff, a Mexican national, presented an appeal for legal protection, arguing that 1) certain modifications and derogations of the General Health Law (Ley General de Salud) in favor of tobacco consumption constitute a violation of the constitutional right to health and of the American Convention on Human Rights and 2) the present  tobacco control law, General Law for Tobacco Control (Ley General para el Control del Tabaco), does not establish sufficient protections for the right to health and does not comply with the minimum levels of protection required by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Although the Court determined that the claims do affect the legal interest of the plaintiff and recognized the right to health, the Court dismissed the case on procedural grounds. 

Winsa S.A. v. Mexico [Mexico] [June 29, 2009]

A Mexican food establishment, Winsa, filed an appeal for legal protection, claiming the Law Regulating Commerce in the Federal District (Ley para el Funcionamiento de Establecimientos Mercantiles en el Distrito Federal) was unconstitutional and violated the Mexican Constitution, which guarantees the right to equal protection. The articles at issue mandate that places selling food and drinks to the public for local consumption must be free of all tobacco smoke.  The Court held that since these articles applied to all commercial establishments and there was no discrimination, the articles were not in violation of the Constitution.

Hamdan Amad, Faudi, et al. v. Mexico [Mexico] [June 29, 2009]

The plaintiffs, a group of Mexican citizens, presented an appeal for legal protection claiming that, as persons addicted to smoking, the smoke-free laws violated their constitutional rights by making all closed public spaces smoke-free. The Court dismissed the claim finding that the plaintiffs' addiction to tobacco did not justify their smoking in closed public spaces and that they had the freedom to smoke in other spaces.

Operadora de Centros de Espectáculos, S.A. de C.V. v. Mexico [Mexico] [January 29, 2009]

The plaintiff, an entertainment firm, requested an appeal for legal protection against a clause in a law on commercial establishments, which prohibits the sale of tobacco in entertainment venues. The plaintiff claimed this provision violated the right to commerce. The Court found that the law did violate the right to commerce because the limitation violated the principle of proportionality and necessity.