The Mexican tobacco industry has offered to adopt a new advertising code that will see the cessation of all TV commercials for tobacco products by the end of 2002.

The move, whilst welcome to the anti-smoking lobby, is not conceding a great deal. TV tobacco ads are already restricted to a graveyard slot between 10pm and 6am and are not permitted to show a lighted cigarette.

In addition to the TV move, the industry has agreed to cease advertising in publications with less than 75% of their readership aged 18-plus, while the maximum size of billboard ads will be substantially reduced from 120sqm to 35sqm

There every appearance of a done deal between the tobacco companies and the Mexican government. Next week will see the formal signing of the agreement in the presence of health secretary Julio Frenk; while the new code’s chapter and verse is likely to be used by President Vicente Fox as a framework for legislation.

Lourdes Lamasney, co-CEO of Young & Rubicam, Mexico, does not seem unduly fazed at this potential billings-erosion, observing that the move is in line with global trends. “Mexico is not immune,” she says. “The industry is going to have to think its way around this. We are going to have get creative.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff