Uruguayan Court Halts Big Tobacco’s… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Uruguayan Court Halts Big Tobacco’s Changes to Plain Packaging Measures

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
October 26, 2022

Washington, D.C. – A court in Uruguay has issued an injunction preventing the implementation of a decree that would have weakened the country’s landmark plain packaging legislation. The decree had been issued by President Lacalle Pou following a request from Uruguay’s largest tobacco company. The injunction, issued by a court tasked with protecting children’s rights, represents a significant victory for public health in Uruguay.  

In September, Uruguay’s government issued a decree that would have allowed tobacco companies to print information on cigarette sticks and to include inserts in tobacco packs, which tobacco companies can use to market their deadly products in ways the plain packaging legislation was designed to prevent. 

Following the decree, public health advocates in Uruguay swiftly filed a constitutional lawsuit seeking to protect the country’s life-saving public health measures and prevent Big Tobacco from regaining a foothold in Uruguay. The judge ruled that the decree jeopardized children’s rights and infringed on Uruguay’s international obligations to health and human rights laws. 

We applaud the tireless advocates in Uruguay who fought this measure in court and won. While the Lacalle Pou administration has shown an alarming willingness to cave to the interests of Big Tobacco, the public health community in Uruguay remains a steadfast guardian of the country’s renowned tobacco control laws. Uruguay’s actions should serve as a reminder to advocates and governments around the world to be ever vigilant of Big Tobacco companies as they seek to undo decades of progress in driving down rates of tobacco use.