Compliance with Uruguay’s single presentation requirement

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Abstract

Introduction

Tobacco companies vary pack colours, designs, descriptors, flavours and brand names on cigarette packs to target a multitude of consumers. These different brand variants can falsely imply that some brand variants are less harmful than others. Uruguay is the only country that requires cigarette companies to adhere to a single presentation (one brand variant) per brand family.

Methods

An existing, systematic pack purchasing protocol was adapted for data collection. Neighbourhoods in Montevideo were categorised into five strata by percentage of poor households. Five neighbourhoods within each stratum were selected based on geographical variation. In each neighbourhood, a ‘starting hub’ was identified and a systematic walking protocol was implemented to purchase unique packs at four key vendor types.

Results

Unique packs were purchased in 9 out of 25 neighbourhoods. Fifty-six unique packs were purchased, representing 30 brands. Of these, 51 packs were legal, representing 26 brands. The majority of the legal brands (n=16; 62%) were compliant with the requirement. The remaining packs were non-compliant due to differences in colour, design element, brand name, crest and descriptors. Although not prohibited by the single presentation requirement, 16 legal brands had more than one stick count (10, 11, 14 or 20 sticks), and packs from four brands had more than one packaging type (hard, soft or tin).

Conclusion

Overall, compliance with Uruguay’s single presentation requirement was good. In addition to the current restrictions, future single presentation requirements could expand to include packs in more than one stick count and packaging type.

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