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New Report:  Big Tobacco Breaking Laws to Target Kids in Latin America

November 04, 2015


A new report documents how the tobacco industry is breaking laws and exploiting loopholes to target kids with deadly tobacco products in 14 countries across Latin America. According to the report, the tobacco industry is using a variety of marketing tactics – some illegal – to target youth at shops, kiosks and other places where tobacco is sold to consumers.

In Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, Big Tobacco’s tactics violate existing laws, but have largely been ignored by enforcement agencies. In Mexico for example, the law limits point- of-sale tobacco advertisements to adult-only establishments such as bars. However, the report shows that tobacco ads are commonly placed in shops that are open and accessible to children.

The report and associated website – published by The InterAmerican Heart Association, ACT Brazil, and Corporate Accountability International – use photographic evidence and analysis to document the top ten marketing tactics used by Big Tobacco in Latin America to target kids. These tactics include:

  • covering shop walls entirely with cigarette packs (known as power walls);
  • displaying cigarettes with lights, colors and other eye-catching designs;
  • placing cigarettes close to child-friendly products; and
  • placing products at eye level for children.

Latin America has been a leader in tobacco control, with 16 countries having already enacted comprehensive smoke-free laws. But the report reveals that governments must do more to close loopholes and enforce existing tobacco advertising bans in order to protect youth.

More than 370,000 people in Latin America die each year from tobacco-related diseases. Complete and strongly-enforced bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship – as called for by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – are critical to protecting Latin America’s children from being targeted by Big Tobacco.