The province of Tierra del Fuego regulated the law nº 1203 of control of smoking, sanctioned on December 15, 2017. The regulations are called to be the highest national standard because, besides incorporating the complete prohibition of advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco, expressly contemplates the prohibition of product exhibition.
National Law No. 26,687 meant the end of campaigns, commercials, sporting events and fashion shows sponsored by cigarette brands; by restricting advertising, promotions and sponsorships only to advertisements at points of sale, publications of companies in the sector and direct communications, with prior consent and verification of the age of majority of the recipients.
However, the tobacco industry knows how to take advantage of the existing legal vacuum: it is responsible for complying with advertising requirements, but it allocates a large part of its resources to the exhibition of tobacco products, making this one of its main marketing strategies. In terms of visibility and brand promotion, the effect achieved is as powerful as that of advertising.
Several provinces of our country have also advanced with regulations that establish a broad ban on tobacco advertising, examples of which are Santa Fe, Neuquén, San Luis, Santa Cruz and La Pampa. However, Tierra del Fuego is the first case in which there is expressly a ban on the exhibition of tobacco products, which constitutes a significant and novel advance in terms of health protection, especially for children and young people.
Thus, article 4 defines what should be understood by exhibition, saying that it is: “any form of exhibition of products and by-products made with tobacco that allows its visibility”. Subsequently, in its article 17 the regulations refer specifically to the exhibition of tobacco products in points of sale stating that: “Commercial premises where products provided by this law are sold, may place signs inside (…) provided that they are not seen directly or indirectly from the outside, nor contain colors, logos, isotypes or any other design that allows to identify the commercial brands of the products or their production companies “. In turn, the provisions that establish the prohibition of exhibition in places of mass competition (Article 11), as well as the one that prohibits the direct or indirect exhibition of tobacco products “through any means of dissemination or communication, deserve special attention. , recommendation or commercial action in order to directly or indirectly promote the product or its use “(Art.16).
We believe it is essential to establish a ban on advertising and promotion of tobacco products, without exceptions. According to studies carried out by WHO, the elimination of any form of advertising, promotion and sponsorship, including the exhibition of tobacco products, is one of the most effective measures to prevent consumption.
In this same sense, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESC rights) has expressed itself, expressing to Argentina its great concern about the precarious regulation of advertising campaigns of tobacco companies. That is why, as he did in 2011, he reiterated to the State the need to ratify the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and adjust the internal regulations on advertising of tobacco products to the standards established therein; the increase in taxes to levels that have a deterrent effect on tobacco consumption and the adoption of information measures on the negative impact of tobacco on health, emphasizing the need to protect young people and children.
Maga Merlo Vijarra
Agustina Mozzoni, [email protected]