To assess progress in and barriers to implementing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) in Uruguay, which has a complete ban, and Argentina, with a partial ban.
Legislation on TAPS bans in Uruguay and Argentina was reviewed and relevant published literature, news stories, civil society reports and tobacco industry reports retrieved to analyze progress in implementing TAPS bans.
In Uruguay, the complete TAPS ban, which includes standardized tobacco packaging, maintains high compliance and severely limits exposure of TAPS, despite a few problems with corporate social responsibility, social media, and transnational advertising. In Argentina, the partial TAPS ban has more problems with compliance and exposure to TAPS. The most important barriers to implementing TAPS bans in both countries are the tobacco companies. In Uruguay, tobacco companies do not comply in a few areas but the complete ban greatly minimizes this. In Argentina, however, tobacco companies can more easily exploit gaps in the partial TAPS ban, such as advertising at the points of sale, promoting contests, and using influencers on social media.
The partial TAPS ban in Argentina illustrates the problems with enforcement and the tobacco industry’s ability to exploit loopholes and continue to market their products, especially to young people. A complete TAPS ban, including standardized tobacco packaging, as in Uruguay, is easier to implement and enforce and is effective in reducing exposure to tobacco advertising. Nevertheless, governments should prioritize implementing TAPS bans on social media, which remains a difficult sphere to monitor and allows tobacco companies to continue recruiting and targeting young people.