Neri, José Armando Contreras v. Mexico

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.


Neri, José Armando Contreras v. México, Amparo en revisión 513/2015, Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación [Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation] (2015).

  • Mexico
  • Oct 2, 2015
  • Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación – Segunda Sala


Plaintiff José Armando Contreras Neri

Defendant Mexico

Legislation Cited

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics


Substantive Issues


Type of Tobacco Product