Mexico has enacted the toughest anti-tobacco law in the world. The law came into force on January 15, 2023 and it applies to pretty much any public area. The only legal place to smoke tobacco in Mexico is inside private homes or private outdoor spaces.
The new regulation also prohibits all forms of advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco, through any means of communication and dissemination, including the direct and indirect exhibition of tobacco products at points of sale.
“Mexico becomes one of the countries at the forefront of protecting the health of children and adolescents,” said the head of the National Commission against Addictions (Conadic), Gady Zabicky Sirot, in his message for the new Regulation of the General Law for Tobacco Control.
“When I first heard about the smoking ban in Mexico I was sitting at a beach restaurant in a little pueblo in the Yucatán”, says Mary Lynn, a valued member of the Cigar Journal tasting panel. When she asked the waiter what he knew about it, he replied, “It’s Mexico. We make our own rules.” And that about sums up her experience over the last three months since the ban took place. “We traveled to Mexico City in January and we smoked our cigars in restaurants, hotels and on the streets. No one enforced the ban. We did not go to any beach resorts, but rather thru smaller towns along the way. We happily smoked inside and outside. No issues. Millions of tourists spending millions of dollars want to have cigars on their yearly vacation…, do you really think they want to disappoint tourists for lighting up outdoors? Mexico needs tourism to survive. I don’t believe this ban will be enforced in the long term but larger resorts in larger cities will be places we avoid.”
Through the eyes of manufacturers, retailers or purveyors, the new law looks more drastic. “This not only affects the tobacco industry, but also the rights of the consumer. Costumers are outraged about the violations of their rights. This is not only devastating for the cigar business, is also very harmful to the future of other industries, because it sets a preceding action for punishing legitimate tax paying companies, entrepreneurs and individuals”, tells us an insider.
Mr. Serge Bollag, Managing Director at Casa 1910, adds:” The smoking ban is very bad news for the domestic market. As owners of a cigar brand, as well as operators of a cigar lounge, we are joining a long list of brands, lounges, retailers as well as restaurant and hospitality groups in suing the government with a constitutional complaint. We believe that these new restrictions are unconstitutional.”
And Mr. Manolo Santiago, Master Blender at Casa 1910, comments. “I have heard that sales of premium cigars have dropped by 12% in the past weeks. Because sales depend on the presentation of the product. And now, you can only make your purchases through a list… no logos, no images, only characteristics, measures and name of the cigar may be shown.”