Smoke-free Mexico City Success Due to Strong Advocacy

Smoke-free Mexico City Success Due to Strong Advocacy

A recent article in Tobacco Control found that the coordinated efforts of advocates and policymakers led to the successful implementation of Mexico City’s 100% smoke-free law. The study outlines the development of Mexico City’s smoke-free law, identifies major implementation challenges faced, and describes the actions taken by advocates to ensure success.

Major Challenges


·         The hospitality industry claimed the 100% smoke-free law would hurt their business and that designated smoking rooms were unconstitutional and impractical.

  • At the federal level, a weaker smoke-free law required designated smoking rooms and allowed the tobacco industry to create confusion among restaurant and bar owners about which law should be followed in Mexico City.
  • Two pro-tobacco legislators in Mexico City filed a Supreme Court lawsuit against the constitutionality of the 100% smoke-free law.


Key Actions and Events


  • Strong political figures, such as the Minister of Health for Mexico City, maintained public support for 100% legislation arguing that it is more practical than smoking rooms and would be easier to enforce.
  • Local, national, and international organizations carried out radio and print media campaigns to promote the passage of Mexico City’s law. Press conferences and television interviews generated additional public awareness and support for the law.
  • After passage, Mexico City gave establishments a grace period for compliance. During this period, the City Health Ministry used public education campaigns to inform businesses and the public about the new law. A series of paid media campaigns were launched to reinforce the benefits of 100% smoke-free laws.
  • In November 2008, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the city law because it expanded the fundamental right of health to all citizens.
  • In December 2009, Congress eliminated the requirement for designated smoking rooms in the federal tobacco control bill.




·         The successful passage and implementation of Mexico City’s law is a result of strong, coordinated efforts by governmental officials and health advocates in educating legislators and the public about the benefits of smoke-free environments.


The full report [English only] can be found at:

Full citation:  Crosbie E, Sebrie EM, Glantz SA. Strong advocacy led to successful implementation of smokefree Mexico City. Tobacco Control. 2011 Jan;20(1):64-72.


Tobacco Control is an internationally peer-reviewed journal covering the nature and consequences of tobacco use worldwide. The journal is for health professionals and others in tobacco control and is a publication of the British Medical Journal.


If you have any questions about the materials or how you may use them in your advocacy efforts, please e-mail

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