The Global Tobacco Epidemic and the Law

The Global Tobacco Epidemic and the Law

Edited by Andrew D. Mitchell and Tania Voon

Tobacco use represents a critical global health challenge. The World Health Organization estimates that tobacco kills nearly 6 million people a year, with the toll expected to rise to 8 million annually over the next two decades. Written by health and legal experts from institutions around the globe, The Global Tobacco Epidemic and the Law examines the key areas of domestic and international law affecting the regulation of tobacco.

Chapter 13: Tobacco control in Latin America

Oscar A. Cabrera and Juan Carballo

Subjects: law - academic, health law, international economic law, trade law, international investment law


Latin America has experienced significant developments in tobacco control regulation in recent years. This includes legislation covering major tobacco control policies such as smoke-free environments, restrictions and regulations on packaging and labelling of tobacco products – including health warnings – and restrictions on tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship, which includes countries moving towards comprehensive bans. The progress made in the region on tobacco control has certain unique characteristics. On the one hand, tobacco control laws and regulations in Latin America are closely connected with human rights. On the other hand, increasing importance is being placed on commercial–trade legal frameworks, and the lack of effective implementation, coupled with institutional weaknesses, in some cases allows the tobacco industry to interfere in the development of public policies to protect health. The following section introduces the current situation of the tobacco epidemic in Latin America, which includes relatively high rates of tobacco consumption among women and poor people. In section III, we analyse the status of tobacco control laws and policies in the region. In section IV, we briefly analyse the relevant judicial decisions, addressing issues such as protection from the exposure to tobacco smoke, restrictions on packaging and labelling of tobacco products, and a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Finally, in section V, we draw attention to some of the specific characteristics of tobacco control in the region.It is important to clarify that for the purposes of this chapter our focus on Latin America will exclude the Caribbean countries.

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