Control of tobacco in Brazil is a constant challenge and we must never stop fighting against any form of tobacco products because they harm people hooking them to nicotine and causing several of the most prevalent diseases associated with morbidity, disability, and death.

Brazil is an international reference in tobacco control and has been implementing appropriate measures for almost four decades. In 1986, the National Program to Fight Smoking, a milestone point, was launched including guidelines for Federal tobacco control measures and the National Day Against Tobacco was created, August 29. The 1988 Federal Constitution was important for tobacco control in the country, its concept of health as a right of all and duty of the State, and the development of the Unified Health System (SUS) were important for developing measures to prevent tobacco use and help people stop smoking.

In 1996, a law regulating the advertising of cigarettes, prohibition of the use of cigarettes and other smoking products in private or public collective spaces was put in place. Anvisa, the National Health Surveillance Agency created in 1999, enabled more effective measures to control and inspect tobacco products and issued a resolution that prohibits the sale, importing and advertising of any devices for smoking, known as electronic cigarettes in 2009.In August 2009, a game changer law was approved in the state of São Paulo banning smoking in enclosed public places. Establishments in breach of the ban are fined up to US$ 750 for a first offence, with the fine doubling for a repeat offense. A third breach entails closure of the business for 48 hours and a fourth shut it down for 30 days. This law turned out to be federal by 2011. Brazil is a signatory of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) since 2006.

Since the adoption of the treaty, Brazil is one of two countries that has adopted all MPOWER measures at best practice levels. As result of Brazil commitment to tobacco control measures smoking prevalence has declined sharply by 74% over the past three decades, from 34% in 1986 to 9,1% in 2021. Although prohibited, electronic cigarettes pose a new challenge to smoke control in Brazil, mainly in children and young people, and the fight against it has been a top priority to maintain the progress obtained in the last almost 40 years. In 2022, Anvisa voted to uphold the ban on e-cigarettes and  the Ministry of Justice instructed  businesses to stop selling e-cigarettes or risk a penalty. We all must continue and prevail in this fight to protect the health of our nation’s young people.

Dr. Irma de Godoy

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