Global Tobacco Control Updates
A recently released survey found that Uruguay’s implementation of effective tobacco control policies has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on awareness about the dangers of tobacco use and demand for tobacco products. The survey, conducted by the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project, shows that the country’s comprehensive tobacco control policies have raised awareness of the true harms of smoking, reduced misperceptions about "light" and "mild" cigarettes, reduced exposure to deadly secondhand smoke and decreased the demand for tobacco products through increased tobacco taxes.
In 2006, Uruguay implemented unprecedented tobacco control measures, including the world’s largest graphic warning labels, which cover 80 percent of cigarette packs sold within the country. Uruguay also became the first country in the world to ban multiple brand presentations in an effort to eliminate the promotion of light and mild cigarettes, which falsely leads consumers to believe that light or mild cigarettes are less harmful. In addition, Uruguay implemented a comprehensive ban on smoking in public places and initiated several tobacco tax increases – measures that are proven to increase public health, prevent youth from starting to smoke and encourage smokers to quit. Since the implementation of these proven tobacco control methods, public support for tobacco control and smoke-free policies has rapidly increased, with two–thirds of smokers now supporting stronger government action to protect the public from tobacco use.
Despite tobacco industry litigation aimed at bullying the country to back down, Uruguay’s global leadership in tobacco control has sparked a sweeping movement across Latin America, now home to 14 smoke-free countries. The most recent survey data from Uruguay should continue to send a resonating message to countries around the world that strong tobacco control laws or not only effective, but are also widely supported by the public.