The international tobacco companies dominate Mexico’s cigarette market, holding almost 99 percent of the market share. In 2008, Cigarros la Tabacalera Mexicana, a Philip Morris International subsidiary, held 65 percent of market share. It was followed by British American Tobacco (23 percent) and Japan Tobacco (10 percent). In 2008, over 35 billion cigarettes were sold in Mexico.
Mexico ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on May 28, 2004.
Smoke-free environments: Mexico passed a national smoke-free law in 2008; however, the law allows designated smoking rooms. Mexico has a national ban on smoking in primary and secondary educational facilities. Sub-national jurisdictions have the authority to pass smoke-free laws that are stronger (but not weaker) than the national law. In 2008, Mexico City banned smoking in most indoor workplaces and public places, including restaurants and bars.
Advertising, promotion and sponsorship: Tobacco advertising is banned on TV, radio and in magazines targeting children. Tobacco sponsorship and free distribution is also banned. However, advertising is still allowed inside point-of-sale, through the mail, and in publications for adults only.
Warning labels: Rotating pictorial and text health warnings are required to cover at least 30% of the front and 100% of the back of smoked tobacco products packages. For smokeless tobacco products, a text warning is required and it must cover 100% of one side face. The law also prohibits misleading tobacco product packaging and labeling and requires the qualitative (descriptive) disclosure of constituents and emissions.
Tobacco taxes: Cigarettes are cheap in Mexico compared to other upper middle income countries. Tobacco taxes in Mexico are below the rate recommended by the World Bank (from 65 percent to 80 percent of retail price) that is commonly present in countries with effective tobacco control policies.
Tobacco Taxes in Mexico [summary]
Based on The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Taxation in Mexico
by Hugh Waters, Belén Sáenz de Miera, Hana Ross and Luz Myriam Reynales Shigematsu
Law of General Import and Export Taxes, Jan. 18, 2002
Added Value Tax Law, Dec. 29, 1978
General Health Law, 1984
— Article 276 — regulates tobacco warning labels
— Article 309 — regulates tobacco advertising