Mexico Imposes One of the World’s Strictest Anti-Smoking Laws

Mexico has recently imposed one of the world’s strictest anti-tobacco laws, setting in force a total ban on smoking in public places, including hotels, beaches, and parks. The new law, which is part of the country’s General Law for Tobacco Control reform, came into force on Sunday and will also see the total ban on the promotion, advertising, and sponsorship of tobacco products. The sale and use of e-cigarettes and vapes are also due to face new restrictions.

Background on Mexico’s Anti-Smoking Efforts

The new blanket ban extends on an existing federal and state tobacco control law which came into place in 2008, banning smoking in indoor spaces such as bars, restaurants, and workplaces. Mexico — where the most sold cigarette brand is Marlboro — now joins nations such as Ireland, Greece, Hungary, and Malta as those with the most stringent smoke-free environments.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed the move, with Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stating, “Bravo Mexico! WHO welcomes such a bold move on tobacco control. We call on all countries to strengthen No Tobacco policies and help us prevent 8 million deaths every year.”

Smoking in Mexico

About 16% of adults in Mexico are tobacco smokers, and smoking causes nearly a million deaths in the Americas each year. Bolivia and Chile hold the highest smoking rates in the region, at 40% and 38.7% respectively. Brazil, El Salvador, Mexico, and Chile are among Latin American nations also considering implementing tobacco control policies to reduce tobacco use in their populations.

Mexico’s existing 2008 law, which created smoke-free spaces in bars, restaurants, and workplaces, is now extended to an outright ban in all public spaces

Comparing to Other Countries

Mexico’s new law follows similar smoking bans in other countries such as the United Kingdom, Thailand, and Russia. In the UK, the smoking ban in public spaces, including bars and restaurants, was implemented in 2007 and has been credited with significantly reducing the number of smokers and second-hand smoke exposure. Thailand banned smoking on tourist beaches in 2018, and Russia banned smoking on balconies in 2020.


Mexico’s new anti-smoking law is a significant step in the fight against tobacco use and its harmful effects on public health. The Pan American Health Organisation has welcomed the step and applauded the Mexican government for implementing the ban. The organisation says that tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the world, responsible for nearly a million deaths in the Americas each year, either through direct consumption or exposure to second-hand smoke



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