Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Key elements of tobacco control legislation

Tobacco sales to minors

Legislation should prohibit the sale of tobacco to minors. However, for this to be effective, close to 100% compliance is required. Enforcement is key, including, interalia, the importance of meaningful penalties, proof of age, licensing of retailers, prohibition of self service displays, and prohibition against display of visible products, without which such a provision would be ineffective (11).


To combat illicit trade, counterfeit and smuggled tobacco products, comprehensive legislation should include measures such as requirements for package markings or creation of a regime for tracking and tracing products from the production through the distribution chain. The experience in Spain is an example of successful smuggling control.

Demand reduction measures

Demand reduction measures concerning tobacco dependence and cessation treatment. These measures should encourage tobacco users to quit as part of a comprehensive package including education and prevention. It is important that tobacco dependence and cessation treatment should be integrated in health systems.

Other components of legislation may include creation of school-based programmes that are an integral part of comprehensive tobacco control programme and not in isolation, modification of agricultural policies or provisions on issues of legal liability. Litigation based on constitutional provisions has led to adoption of smoke-free policies in India and Uganda.


(11) See Di Franza J. Active enforcement of minor access laws: a moral and ethical imperative, Tobacco Control, 1995; 4:5. See also WHO Guide on Legislation, page 109