Country

Colombia

Colombia has made progress on tobacco control in recent years. However, people continue to die and become sick needlessly, and the costs to society from tobacco use continue to mount.  Colombia can still do more to make the proven tobacco control tools work for its citizens’ wellbeing.

Issues

Tobacco harms the health, the treasury, and the spirit of Colombia. Every year, more than 20900 of its people are killed by tobacco-caused disease. Still, more than 72000 children (10-14 years old) and 4138000 adults (15+ years old) continue to use tobacco each day. Complacency in the face of the tobacco epidemic insulates the tobacco industry in Colombia and ensures that tobacco's death toll will grow every year. Tobacco control advocates must reach out to other communities and resources to strengthen their efforts and create change.

Smoking Deaths

human body

Adult Smoking (15+ Y.O.)

using tobacco daily: 2015

16%

Even though fewer men smoke on average in Colombia than on average in high-HDI countries, there are still more than 2904100 men who smoke cigarettes each day, making it an ongoing and dire public health threat.

Children Smoking(10–14 Y.O.)

% using tobacco daily: 2015

2.08%

More boys smoke in Colombia than on average in high-HDI countries.

coffin

Deaths

% caused by tobacco: 2016

10%

Even though fewer men die from tobacco in Colombia than on average in high-HDI countries, tobacco still kills 235 men every week, necessitating action from policymakers.

human body

Adult Smoking (15+ Y.O.)

% using tobacco daily: 2015

6.2%

More women smoke in Colombia than on average in high-HDI countries.

Children Smoking (10–14 Y.O.)

% using tobacco daily: 2015

1.46%

More girls smoke in Colombia than on average in high-HDI countries.

coffin

Deaths

% caused by tobacco: 2016

8.84%

Even though fewer women die from tobacco in Colombia than on average in high-HDI countries, tobacco still kills 166 women every week, necessitating action from policymakers.

Smokeless Tobacco

% using tobacco daily: 2013

n/a

n/a

Societal Harms

The economic cost of smoking in Colombia amounts to 3416058 million peso. This includes direct costs related to healthcare expenditures and indirect costs related to lost productivity due to early mortality and morbidity.

Tobacco Use Also...

Harms Development

Buying tobacco robs families of the resources they may need to rise out of poverty. A smoker in Colombia would have to spend 2.81% of their average income (measured by per capita GDP) to purchase 10 of the most popular cigarettes to smoke daily each year!

Harms Development

Harms Environment

Cigarette butts are the most commonly discarded pieces of waste worldwide. It is estimated that 6116 tonnes of butts and packs wind up as toxic trash in Colombia each year. This is roughly equivalent to the weight of 1223 endangered African elephants.

Harms Environment

Harms Equality

To appeal to more customers, the tobacco industry markets its products aggressively to women and children.

Harms Equality

Harms NCDs

People living with mental illness are nearly twice as likely to smoke as other individuals.

Harms NCDs

Industry

The combined revenues of the world's 6 largest tobacco companies in 2016 was more than USD 346 Billion, 25% larger than the Gross National Income of Colombia. The industry is a powerful force that does not fear the actions of nation-states because of their extensive resources and global market power.

Growing

There were 28600 metric tons of tobacco produced in Colombia in 2014. However, tobacco growing is only a small fraction of agriculture in Colombia, with only 0.03% of agricultural land devoted to tobacco cultivation.

Production

There were 6.58 billion cigarettes produced in Colombia in 2016. Cigarette imports exceeded cigarette exports in Colombia in 2016, which hurt the country's trade balance.

Solutions

Current Policy in Colombia

Protect from Smoke

All public places completely smoke-free is the best practice

Smokefree

n/a

HealthCare Facilities

n/a

Educational Facilities

n/a

Universities

n/a

Government Facilities

n/a

Indoor Offices

n/a

Restaurants

n/a

Pubs and Bars

n/a

Public Transport

n/a

All Other Indoor Public Places

n/a

Funds for Smokefree Enforcement

Offer Help

National quit line and both NRT and cessation-services cost-covered is the best practice

Quitting Resources
NRT and/or some cessation services (at least one of which is cost-covered)
National Quitline
No

Warn About the Dangers to Tobacco Users on Product Packaging

A plain, standardized pack with a large health warning is the best practice

Type of Warning Label
Graphic
Percent of Pack Covered
30%
Plain Packaging
No

Warn About the Dangers to the Whole Population in a Media Campaign

Ran a National Anti-Tobacco Campaign in 2014 or 2016
Yes
Appropriate Characteristics
Part Of A Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program
Yes
Pre-Tested With The Target Audience
No
Target Audience Research Was Conducted
Yes
Aired On Television And/Or Radio
Yes
Utilized Media Planning
Yes
Earned Media/Public Relations Were Used To Promote The Campaign
Yes
Process Evaluation Was Used To Assess Implementation
Yes
Outcome Evaluation Was Used To Assess Effectiveness
Yes

Enforce Bans on Advertising

Ban on all forms of direct and indirect advertising is the best practice

Number of Direct Ad Bans

7/7

possible bans

Number of Indirect Ad Bans

7/10

possible bans

Ad Ban Compliance Percent

High

Direct Bans

  • National TV and radio
  • International TV and radio
  • Local magazines and newspapers
  • International magazines and newspapers
  • Billboard and outdoor advertising
  • Advertising at point of sale
  • Advertising on internet

Indirect Bans

  • Free distribution in mail or through other means
  • Promotional discounts
  • Non-tobacco products identified with tobacco brand names
  • Brand name of non-tobacco products used for tobacco product
  • Appearance in TV and/or films: tobacco brands (product placement)
  • Appearance in TV and/or films: tobacco products
  • Prescribed anti-tobacco ads required for any visual entertainment 
media product that depicts tobacco products, use or images
  • Complete ban on sponsorship
  • Any form of contribution (financial or other support) to any event, activity or individual
  • Ban on the publicity of financial or other sponsorship or support by the tobacco industry of events, activities, individuals

Raise Taxes

Excise Tax as a % of Cigarette Price

WHO Benchmark

Minimum 70%

of Retail Price is Excise Tax

Colombia

35.72%

of Retail Price is Excise Tax