Mexico: Controlling the Illicit Cigarette Trade

In the last decade, Mexico has made important progress in tobacco control. Graphic warnings were included on cigarette packs, advertising was restricted, and 100-percent smoke-free environments were implemented in 11 of the country’s 32 states. At the same time, tobacco taxation and tobacco tax administration were strengthened, with the homologation of ad valorem excise taxes for all non-handmade tobacco products, and a specific excise was added to reduce price differentials across tobacco products. Mexico’s General Law for Tobacco Control, approved in 2008, incorporated two key measures designed to curb illicit tobacco trade: (1) the obligation for firms to obtain health licenses to produce or import tobacco products, and (2) the requirement that firms secure a specific permit for each import process involving tobacco products.