Igor Utsumi

Igor Utsumi

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Advertising Regulation for Tobacco in Brazil

Igor Utsumi

Igor Utsumi

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Cigarettes and smoking product advertising is subject to many restrictions in Brazil. This article will explain the main ones and what changes this industry has recently faced.

Advertising in Brazil is a large, fast-growing market. Despite the new challenges brought by the development of digital media and the current difficulties seen in some other countries, this industry keeps expanding.

This can be proven with numbers. Zenith Optimedia estimates that the Brazilian advertising market will be the 5th largest in the world by 2015, overtaking the United Kingdom. In 2013, BRL 32,2 billion was invested in advertising in Brazil, an increase of almost 7% in comparison to the previous year.

The world’s largest advertising agencies are all established in Brazil, and they are all inserted in a dynamic market, that deals with new platforms, new products and of course, new rules.

Regulations for advertising in Brazil are always changing, either by laws decreed by governmental spheres or by the entities that are responsible for regulating this industry in the country.

Who regulates it

There is a joint effort to regulate advertising in Brazil. Many laws enacted by municipal, state and federal government affect this industry directly.

There are other entities that monitor advertising for specific areas. Some examples are Tribunais Eleitorais, or Electoral Courts, who are responsible for political ads; and Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária, Anvisa or National Agency of Health Surveillance, who set restrictions for medical advertising.

In case of cigarettes, cigars and similars, most laws are defined by the federal government.


The main entity responsible for the regulation of advertising in Brazil is a non-governmental organization known as Conselho Nacional de Autorregulamentação Publicitária, CONAR or National Council of Self-Regulation Advertising.

CONAR’s main function is to supervise the principal ethics in the advertising industry. They have a board of professionals that receive any complaints made by customers, companies, organizations or authorities that might have been offended, attacked or misled by an advertisement or promotional action.

Based on such complaints, CONAR’s board decides if the advert being analyzed is offensive somehow or if it breaches the Brazilian advertising industry ethics code. Consequences can vary from the edit of an advertisement to its complete removal, and even fines, in some cases.

Brazil’s first advertising ethics code was published in 1977, two years before the foundation of CONAR. The entity is composed of members from various sectors related to this industry, such as advertisers, agencies and even specialized press vehicles.

Tobacco restrictions

Where would you look if you had to search for anti-tobacco advertising?

The easiest answer would probably be on a pack of cigarettes.

Just like other places throughout the world, Brazil has not only implemented measures to restrict tobacco advertising, but has also made it mandatory for the companies to warn consumers about the risks of smoking, through adverts created by the Ministry of Health.

And not only in advertising itself. The Brazilian government enacted a law in December 2014 to limit smoking in Brazilian territory; from now on, it is prohibited to smoke in closed areas.

Advertising limitations

The federal law in question, valid for the entire Brazilian territory, was also responsible for limiting the number of tobacco advertisements.

As a rule of thumb, adverts for cigarettes, cigars or similars are forbidden in Brazil. Nothing on the TV, radio, printed press, internet - anything. If a cigarette company is sponsoring an event, like a trade show, for example, it is allowed to show the brand’s name and logo, but no mention that could promote smoking is allowed.

The only possible form of advertising is the mere exposure of the products, as long as it is accompanied by some elements, like warnings about the harm caused by smoking and pictures illustrating such harm.

There must also be a price table along with the ad, indicating the minimum price of each pack of cigarettes or products being sold in that facility. This price limit is set by the federal government and is valid for the entire territory.

Cigarette producers and similars must insert warnings on the packing. These warnings must cover 100% of the rear face of the packaging and on one of the side faces. In 2016, there must also be a warning covering 30% of the front face of the packaging.

Fines for disrespecting such measures can vary from BRL 2.000 to BRL 1,5 million. Philip Morris, for example, received a fine of BRL 1,1 million in 2014 for a Marlboro advert, when advertisements were allowed to be positioned in places that sell cigarettes. The allegation of governmental entities were that the advert encouraged young people to start smoking.