Illegal sales of cigarettes to minors--Mexico City, Mexico, 1997

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1997 May 23;46(20):440-4.


Because of the increasing prevalence of tobacco use among youth in the United States and Mexico, in 1996 the United States-Mexico Binational Commission (US-MBC) Health Working Group identified prevention of tobacco use, with an emphasis on adolescents, as one of its four priority health concerns. From 1970 to 1990, annual death rates for the leading causes of smoking-related deaths in Mexico nearly tripled and, in 1992, an estimated 10,253 persons in Mexico died as a result of smoking-related diseases, 9% of all deaths that year. In addition, from 1988 to 1993, the prevalence of current smoking among minors aged 12-17 years increased from 6.6% to 9.6%, respectively (in Mexico City, the 1993 prevalence was 12.8%), and in 1993, 72% of adult smokers in Mexico reported becoming regular smokers before age 18 years. Although since 1984 the General Health Law of Mexico has prohibited the sale of tobacco products to minors aged < 18 years, compliance with this law has not been assessed. As part of the Mexican national program to reduce the prevalence of cigarette smoking among children and adolescents and in support of the goals of the US-MBC, during 1997 the General Directorate of Epidemiology (GDE) in the Secretariat of Health (SOH) conducted a survey of tobacco outlets in Mexico City to assess the percentage of retailers willing to sell cigarettes to minors. This report summarizes the results of the survey, which indicate that virtually no surveyed retailers asked minors attempting to purchase cigarettes about their age and that most retailers sold cigarettes to minors.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Commerce* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Tobacco Industry* / legislation & jurisprudence