Chile considers adoption of plain packaging law for cigarettes

18 August 2015 (Last Updated August 18th, 2015 18:30)

Chile is contemplating plans to adopt plain packaging for cigarettes in a bid to tackle increasing rates of smoking in the country.

Chile is contemplating plans to adopt plain packaging for cigarettes in a bid to tackle increasing rates of smoking in the country.

According to the figures released by the World Health Organisation, nearly 28% of adults smoke at least once a day.

The country intends to enforce plain packaging as part of an anti-smoking bill that would require cigarette manufacturers to use identical packaging.

The bill will also require restrictions on smoking at beaches and parks, as well as a ban on menthol cigarettes.

"If they pass the bill as it stands today, we'll close our factory."

Approved by the Chilean Senate, the bill to tighten packaging rules is awaiting approval in the lower house, AFP reported.

When enforced, the bill would put Chile alongside Uruguay and Panama as countries implementing toughest anti-smoking laws in Latin America.

Close to 46 people of the 18 million population die every day due to smoking-related illnesses.

Cigarette manufacturing company British American Tobacco (BAT), which has 90% of the market share in Chile, is opposing the proposed law.

BAT Chile corporate affairs head Carlos Lopez said: "If they pass the bill as it stands today, we'll close our factory."

The firm warns that such regulations would drive black market in the country.

According to the National Agriculture Society, the country's $2bn tobacco market creates close to 15,000 jobs.