The Union has worked in Latin America since 2006 providing grants and tobacco control technical support to organisations through the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use (BI) Grants Program.
The Union’s work in Latin America has led to major tobacco control policy achievements, including:
- Since 2006, The Union has provided technical assistance to strengthen and enforce tobacco control policies. For example, The Union supported the adoption of 14 state-level smokefree policies protecting more than 53 percent of Mexico’s population. In 2020, Mexico issued a landmark presidential decree, prohibiting the import of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, sending a clear message that public health must be prioritised over the tobacco industry’s commercial interests. Read more.
- The Union has facilitated Brazil’s tobacco control work for more than a decade, working alongside national organisations on major country-wide tobacco control policy reforms. Brazil is now a global leader for tobacco control and has seen a significant drop in adult smoking rates. In 2019, the Government of Brazil filed a landmark lawsuit against British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International, seeking to recover five years of smoking-related illness costs paid by the public health system. Read more.
- In 2018, Uruguay became the first Latin American country to introduce tobacco product plain packaging; this proven strategy is a powerful tactic in the tobacco control arsenal as it discourages users—both new and current. The Union helped the government build a solid evidence base for the initiative, including a study demonstrating that plain packaging increased tobacco product risk perception among Uruguayan smokers. Read more.
After a 11-year battle, the Philippines’ Supreme Court ruled to uphold the authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health (DOH) to regulate all products affecting health, including tobacco products. This reverses a 2011 petition filed by the Philippine Tobacco Institute—its members include Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing, Inc., Fortune Tobacco Corp., La Suerte Cigar, and Cigarette Factory—to prevent tobacco products regulation by the FDA and DOH.