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The Tobacco Epidemic

Brazil is home to more tobacco users than any other country in Latin America. Almost 23 million Brazilians (over 11% of the population) smoke. 22% of men and 13% of women smoke. Prior to enactment of the 2011 smokefree law, one quarter of Brazilians were exposed to second-hand smoke in their workplace.

More than 137,000 people die from tobacco use each year. More than one in every seven men and one in every 17 women who dies in Brazil die because of tobacco use. There were over 1 million tobacco-attributable hospitalizations in Brazil from 1996 to 2005.

Brazil is consistently one of the top three producers of tobacco leaves in the world, along with China and India.

Policies in Place

Brazil became a party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2006.

The primary national law regarding tobacco is Law No. 9.294 (July 16, 1996), regulating smoking in public places, TAPS and packaging and labelling of tobacco products. Over a dozen amendments, provisional measures, regulations and resolutions to the law have been adopted since 1996. These laws:

  • Prohibit smoking in all enclosed public places, workplaces, aircraft and vehicles of public transportation.
  • Prohibit all tobacco advertising and promotion, excluding point of sale. There are some restrictions on sponsorship.
  • Require a set of 9 Graphic Health Warnings to cover 100% of the front and back of packaging and be rotated every 5 months.
  • Increased the tax on tobacco as a percent of retail price to over 60%.
  • Allow sub-national regulations that are stricter than the national law.

The Union


The Union has been working in Brazil to improve the legislative framework for tobacco control in country. The Union provided technical and legal assistance during the development of a law to ban smoking in all enclosed public spaces which passed in December 2011. The Union and partners also supported ground-breaking legislation to ban additives in tobacco products which passed in 2012. 

The Court of Justice made a final resolution in favour of Union grantee ACT on the legal challenge by Souza Cruz, the Brazilian subsidiary of British American Tobacco in June of 2014. The legal challenge related to ACT’s campaign, Campanha Limite Tabaco which aimed to promote a ban on tobacco advertising. Souza Cruz claimed the campaign wrongly accused them of using marketing strategies targeting youth and selling cigarettes to minors.


Continuing Work

The Union continues to support the local agencies charged with developing and enforcing the implementation regulations for Brazil's tobacco control legislation.

Useful links
Tobacco control laws - Brazil
Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) - Brazil




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The Tobacco Control Department is based at The Union Europe Office, Edinburgh, registered charity no. SC039880
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