Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – The new regulations of the General Law for the Control of Tobacco entered into force on January 15, 2023. Therefore, smoking is now prohibited in most places in Mexico. The new law prohibits consuming cigarettes in almost all public spaces, as well as the display of packets in commercial establishments, convenience stores and self-service stores.
On December 16, 2022, the Official Gazette of the Federation published the decree that contains the reforms to the Tobacco Control Law, which were approved in 2022, and came into force on Sunday, January 15, 2023.
“The purpose of this Regulation is to establish the control, promotion and sanitary surveillance of tobacco products, their preparation, manufacture, importation and prohibitions in all forms of advertising, promotion and sponsorship of the same, as well as the regulation for the protection against exposure to tobacco smoke and its emissions. This Regulation is of mandatory application throughout the national territory and its provisions are of public order and social interest”, reads Article 1 of the decree published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF).
With these modifications, smokers will see the areas where they can enjoy cigarettes limited, because the following spaces are now 100% smoke free: workplaces, public squares, beaches, parks and stadiums, as well as in public transportation (including bus stops) and schools at all educational levels, including universities.
Places where you can smoke
It should be noted that restaurants will no longer be able to offer a smoking area to diners. In addition, smoking areas in bars, clubs and entertainment venues may not sell food, drinks or entertainment. These smoking areas must have the following characteristics:
• Outdoor spaces should not exceed 10 percent of the total area of the establishment.
• Be located in a perimeter fence at least ten meters from the entrances, accesses, exits or any obligatory place where people pass through or congregate.
• Have signs that prohibit the entry of minors, which must be visible and adequate.
Since the regulation also establishes that tobacco products may not be displayed for sale in stores, they must be hidden from customers view. To sell cigarettes, these establishments must make a written list of the products they sell, including prices, without logos, stamps or brands.
The reforms also prohibit all forms of advertising, promotion and sponsorship of products made with tobacco, through any means of communication or dissemination. This includes print advertising in newspapers, magazines, flyers or billboards, as well as product placement in visual and audiovisual media, such as movies, television, radio commercials, streaming services and social networks.
Entrepreneurs against the measure
Despite the fact that the Ministry of Health explained that these measures ensure a greater degree of protection of people’s health and prioritize the best interests of children because they promote the denormalization of cigarette consumption and most importantly, they will generate great public health benefits, the business sector has expressed its disagreement.
Representatives of the tobacco, commercial, service and restaurant industry, such as CONCAMIN, CCE, ANTAD, CANACINTRA, CONCANACO, CONAINTA and CANIRAC, warned about the impact that the modifications to the Regulation of the General Law for Tobacco Control.
The organizations agreed on the need to promote actions to protect health, as well as the need to promote public policies that tend to prevent tobacco use.
However, the representatives of the private initiative indicated that the issuance, approval and publication of the regulation did not adhere to the due process established in the Law.
“The Regulation goes beyond what is provided for in the Law: the Ministry of Health exceeds its powers by assuming the functions of legislator and it would be the first time in the country that by official provision a legal product is hidden for sale,” they pointed out.
They consider it an “economic blow, the part of competitiveness,” in the words of Héctor Tejada Shaar, president of the Confederation of National Chambers of Commerce, Services and Tourism (CONCANACO SERVYTUR).
On Friday, the Private Initiative (IP) warned of a “rain of protections” against the new regulation, and the president of the Confederation of Industrial Chambers of the United Mexican States (Concamin), José Abugaber, assured that the prohibition “is an illegal and unfounded measure.” He added that “the regulation infringes guidelines and provisions of international treaties, especially regarding the protection of investments and human rights.”
In addition, Abugaber warned that it will affect more than 180,000 restaurants and 500,000 companies in the tourism, services and commerce sectors. For his part, the president of the National Council of the Tobacco Industry (Conainta), Hiram Vera, considered that this will be a hard blow for the tobacco industry in Mexico, since around 5 million jobs are generated around this sector.
The IP also warned of this measure, which it considered “abusive”, stressing that it could harm more than 600,000 registered stores in our country, which generate more than two million jobs.