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Uruguay's strong new law leads to full compliance with WHO tobacco control guidance

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Uruguay has introduced stringent new bans on all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS), including cigarette displays at point of sale.

When this legislative upgrade comes into force in August, Uruguay will be fully implementing the World Health Organization’s MPOWER guidelines – which assist countries to build and manage tobacco control.

Mirta Molinari, Director of The Union Mexico Office said: “Uruguay is fast becoming an exemplar for tobacco control in the region. We congratulate the government for taking this tough stance on the ruthless marketing strategies employed by the tobacco industry.”

Before now, Uruguay’s legislation restricted advertising and promotion of tobacco products at the point-of-salebut comprehensive laws are vital as evidence shows that tobacco industry marketeers simply restructure their promotional strategies to maximise the channels left open to them. Full bans on TAPS have been shown to reduce tobacco consumption by an average of seven percent.

The Union collaborated with the Ministry of Health throughout its efforts to carry out this most recent legal reform. The partnership will now continue as a new grant under the Bloomberg Initiative has just been approved for Uruguay. Its objectives will be to provide technical assistance to stakeholders within government to pursue and protect tobacco control legislation; to document impact and achievements to inform the development of a five-year sustainability plan for tobacco control; and to strengthen capacity for monitoring and inspection mechanisms to enforce legislation.

Uruguay’s introduction of strong tobacco control measures in recent years has resulted in unprecedented reductions in the product’s consumption: from 2005 to 2011, per-person consumption of cigarettes decreased by 4.3 percent per year.

Turkey is the only other country so far to have implemented the complete set of MPOWER measures. As a result, Turkey had 1.2 million fewer adult smokers in 2012 than in 2008.