In 2009, the Colombian Congress determined that the consumption of tobacco products had to be discouraged in the country. With that in mind, the enactment of Law 1335 introduced several regulations tending to prevent damages to the health of minors and non-smokers.

Furthermore, such law determined a number of public policies aiming to prevent tobacco consumption and dependency, among which it provides that the "packaging and labeling of tobacco products or its derivatives may not: a) be directed to minors or be especially attractive to these; b) suggest that smoking contributes to athletic or sporting success, popularity, professional success or sexual success; c) contain false or misleading advertising using terms such as "light," "mild," or "low tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide," cigarettes"1. Moreover, it includes regulations that hold that all cigarette, tobacco and its derivatives products should include warning phrases appearing on the surfaces of each of the two (2) major faces, occupying at least the 30% of the area of each side"2, and confers faculties to the Ministry of Health, as the authority in charge of public health policies to verify compliance with the same.

In year 2012 the transnational company Philip Morris aimed to introduce cigarette packages to the market that included the terms "kristal frost," "frozen nights" and "click & on" on the 70% unregulated portion, however, the Ministry of Health did not allow it, raising a judicial controversy since the company considered that the Ministry only had jurisdiction to review warning phrases and images occupying the 30% of the package and for that reason filed a claim against the Ministry.

In a recent ruling, the State Council, head of the jurisdiction of the Colombian administrative courts, considered that the Ministry indeed has jurisdiction over the unregulated portion of the packages since it would make no sense to allow the inclusion of ambiguous or non – harmonic messages beyond the named 30%, providing a judicial support to public policies on such regard.


1. Article 13, Law 1335 of 2009.

2. Article 13, Law 1335 of 2009.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.