COVID 19: Controversial changes to the labelling of cigarette cartons and packaging

May – 26 – 2020

A few days ago, the Secretary of Health (SSA) published an Official Communication in the Official Gazette of the Federation, which determines the series of labels, images, pictograms and health information that must appear on all cartons of tobacco products and on all external packaging and labeling thereof. The Official Communication will be applied from June 1, 2020 until November 30, 2021. As part of the new health warnings on cigarette cartons, SSA has proposed the new printed statement “Smoking can exacerbate damage from COVID-19”.

Contrarily, the National Tobacco Industry Council (CONAINTA) states that there is no scientific evidence for a relationship between tobacco use and the COVID-19 infectious disease. According to the WHO, smoking is associated with an increase in the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome, a key complication in severe cases of COVID-19.

This regulation has caused controversy among tobacco companies about whether the new text statement that correlates tobacco use and COVID-19 should be used. Due to the fact that COVID-19 is a new disease caused by a novel member of the coronavirus family, the link between tobacco use and the disease needs further research before the enactment of this type of regulation. The relevance of this news is that again, it appears that in Mexico, a regulation is being implemented without solid or definitive technical evidence, which can result in legal actions to avoid uncertainty and discretionary application of the regulatory measures.