Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez is set to issue a decree requiring all cigarettes sold in the country to be plain packaged.
This will require tobacco companies to “restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colors, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard color and font style.”
Vazquez is also backing legislation intended to control the country’s loose alcohol rules and enforcement.
“We want a holistic law with preventative measures," he said.
“People on the boardwalk (in Montevideo) are selling alcohol from the back of their cars.”
The administrations is in open talks with alcohol producers and sellers to avoid legal differences in the future.
Uruguay is the seventh nation to require “plain packaging” for cigarettes after the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and France.
Last year, Uruguay won a ten-year court battle against U.S. tobacco company Philip Morris, P.M., in which the company was forced to pay the Uruguayan government US$7 million in damages. The company initially sued Uruguay for lost profits after the government placed sales restrictions on tobacco for public health reasons.
The Vazquez administration also released a study which found that between 2006 and 2017, the sale of tobacco products in Uruguay fell from 35 percent to 21.6 percent. The government also raised tobacco taxes several times over the same period.
The World Health Organization is hosting a conference on non-communicable diseases this week in Montevideo. Non-communicable diseases are those that can’t be transmitted between people, such as cancer and heart disease.
At the start of the summit, Vasquez said he will work over the next year to build a Mercosur plan to prevent and treat non-communicable diseases among member nations. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes have expressed interest in the project.