Newspaper front pages following the announcement of the new Portuguese tobacco bill: what do they say?
More details
Hide details
University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal
Centro Hospitalar Universitário da Cova da Beira, Covilhã, Portugal
Public Health Research Centre, National School of Public Health, NOVA University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Public Health Unit of Amadora, Amadora, Portugal
Public health Unit of Santa Maria da Feira, Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal
Public Health Unit of the Community Health Center Group of Loures-Odivelas, Lisbon, Portugal
Federal University of Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Publication date: 2023-10-08
Corresponding author
Sofia Ravara   

University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2023;9(Supplement 2):A94
On May 2023, the Ministry of Health of Portugal announces to the official Portuguese news agency that the “Government proposes a law to transpose the European Directive and strengthen the protection of people from exposure to tobacco smoke” aiming to achieve a “Tobacco-free Generation by 2040.” This new tobacco bill included a robust package of measures: 1) extending the smoking/vaping ban to outdoor places such as splanades, terraces, bus stops, university and healthcare services campus, etc; 2) comprehensive restriction of tobacco point of sales (POS) and vending machines. 3) reinforcement of TAPS ban and prohibition of POS at musical and youth festivals 4) transposition of the EU Directive on heated tobacco. This announcement created a strong media debate. We aimed to analyse the press contents focusing on the newspaper front pages.

Material and Methods:
Description and thematic analysis of the titles and contents of the front pages depicted in the main Portuguese newspapers.

Newspapers highlight the opposition, instead of promoting health education and public acceptance, elucidating about the public health evidence supporting the policies: adjectivated speech such as “Undesirable… Government's persecution of smokers"; warnings about economic losses (hospitality industry and tobacco retailers associations); individual freedom and smokers' rights discourse; several policy-makers speaking out against the tobacco supply restriction and the outdoor smoking ban, considering these “abusive and intrusive" or "too restrictive"; violating "the principle of proportionality". The arguments used, as well as the front groups are identified with the tobacco industry's main tactics and the industry allies trying to weaken tobacco control. After this strong media opposition, the bill was discussed in a whole Government meeting and suffered changes that weakened the initial package, particularly the POS restriction.

The media opposition messages suggest strong tobacco industry interference and may have contributed to the tobacco bill setback. This interference should be exposed.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top