Anti-tobacco activists are outraged about a recent government decree in Uruguay that allows cigarette manufacturers to print information on cigarette sticks and include inserts in tobacco packs.
In 2019, Uruguay became the first country in Latin America to require plain packaging of tobacco products. Pioneered in Australia, plain packaging requires that tobacco packs have a uniform color and texture and prohibits any branding, logos or other promotional elements inside or attached to tobacco products.
The measure is meant to reduce the attractiveness and appeal of tobacco products and increase the noticeability of health warnings.
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), the recent government decision allows tobacco companies to market their products in ways the plain packaging legislation was designed to prevent.
“The government has put the interests of the tobacco industry ahead of the health of all Uruguayans,” wrote CTFK President Matthew Myers in a statement, adding that it is not the first time that President Lacalle Pou’s administration “capitulated” to the tobacco industry.
Prior to the administration’s decision on plain packaging, the government reversed a decree that had banned the sale of tobacco-heating products like IQOS and Glo.