In a landmark victory for tobacco control and public health, the government of Uruguay introduced plain or standardised packaging of tobacco products thanks to an executive decree issued by President Tabaré Vázquez. Plain packaging is proven to discourage people from taking up tobacco use and is particularly effective for children and young people.
Uruguay became the first country to implement plain packaging in Latin America with this new regulation, which requires a uniform presentation for all tobacco packs, including standard lettering, brown colours, and no branding elements such as corporate logos and trademarks. Health warnings continue to take up 80 percent of the total surface.
Uruguay currently has the world’s most comprehensive restrictions on tobacco branding achieved by coupling plain packaging and ‘single presentation’ regulations. The latter means that tobacco companies can only sell one variant within their brand family.
The Union has given full technical and legal support to this initiative, with funding from the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use (BI). This helped the government of Uruguay to build a solid evidence base, including a legal study of plain packaging legislation in other countries as well as an experimental study showing that the proposed plain packaging design increased the risk perception of tobacco products among current Uruguayan smokers.