Enforcement of Tobacco Control
Laws In Ethiopia

Ethiopia has one of the strongest tobacco control policies in the continent. It ranks 18 out of 206 countries worldwide that have implemented pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs.

There is fairly high compliance with Smoke-free and Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS) laws.  76% of indoor hospitality venues and 70% of outdoor venues complied with smoke-free laws while 97% of outdoor points of sale and 60% of indoor points of sale complied with TAPS ban.

Enforcement capacity, stakeholder coordination, awareness level on harms of tobacco use and tobacco control laws need to be enhanced, both at the federal and regional levels.

Ethiopia signed the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2004 and ratified it and came into force in 2014.

The WHO FCTC is the first international agreement to address the issue of tobacco use and tobacco control laws. The adoption of national laws is only the first step of domestication; the next challenge is enforcing these laws and ensuring that those subject to them comply.

This page provides information on enforcement

of and compliance , in line with WHO definitions, with existing tobacco control laws in Ethiopia. The page also highlights the barriers and challenges with enforcement. We have referenced two studies conducted by Development Gateway in collaboration with Addis Ababa University (School of Public Health) and EFDA on compliance with Smoke-Free Laws and Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship ban and secondary data. The key stakeholders in tobacco control, along with their roles, have also been highlighted.

To access the summarized results of the studies, please download the SFE factsheet here and the TAPS factsheet here.

Ethiopia has adopted various tobacco control laws to fulfill its obligations under the WHO FCTC, as outlined in the timeline below.

Tobacco Control Laws in Ethiopia

Signing of the WHO FCTC
Food, Medicine and Health care Administration and Control Proclamation No 661/2009
Food, Medicine and Health care Administration and Control Council of Ministers Regulation No 299/2013
Ratification of WHO FCTC Proclamation 822/2014
National Tobacco Control Directive N0 28/2015 (NTCD)
Food and Medicine Administration Proclamation No 1112/2019
Ethiopian Food, Medicine and Healthcare Administration and Control Authority Tobacco Products Pictorial Health Warning and Labeling Directive No 44/2019
Excise Tax Proclamation 1186/2020
Tobacco Control Directive 771/2021
Excise Tax (Amendment) Proclamation No. 1287/2023

Prior to 2004, the legislative measures adopted by the Ethiopian government aimed to monopolize the tobacco industry rather than protect the public from the dangers of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke. In 1942, the Tobacco Regie (Proclamation No. 30/1942) established a state monopoly to prepare, manufacture, import, distribute, and export tobacco products. This proclamation was repealed in 1980 by Proclamation No. 197/1980, which established the National Tobacco and Matches Corporation and gave the state the power to exclusively grow and process tobacco in Ethiopia. In 1999, the monopoly right of the National Tobacco Enterprise (NTE) was transferred to the National Tobacco Enterprise (Ethiopia) Share Company under Proclamation No. 181/1999. This monopolization of the tobacco industry by NTE was justified by the need to streamline tax revenues and boost employment opportunities.

Ethiopia has since made substantial progress in implementing tobacco control measures, by ratifying  the FCTC through adoption of Proclamation No 822/2014 which gave the Ethiopian Food, Medicine and Healthcare Administration and Control Authority (FMHACA) the mandate to implement the WHO FCTC. The most recent law, Proclamation No. 1112/2019 adopted in 2019, is a significant milestone in the country’s public health policy.

Major Tobacco Control Articles in Proclamation No. 1112/2019

Smoking and the use of any tobacco product is prohibited in all indoor public places, workplaces, and means of public transport. Smoking is also prohibited in the outdoor areas of schools and universities, government facilities, youth centers, and amusement parks. (Article  48)

All indirect or direct forms of tobacco advertising and promotion are prohibited. All forms of tobacco sponsorship are similarly prohibited. Rotating text and pictorial health warnings must cover 70%  of the front and back of tobacco product packaging. Misleading packaging and labeling and other signs are prohibited. (Article 61)

The law prohibits the sale of tobacco products via the internet and within 100 meters of schools, health institutions, and youth centers. In addition, the law prohibits the sale of shisha, single cigarettes, and small packets of cigarettes. The sale of tobacco products is prohibited to persons under the age of 21. (Article 49)

Designated smoking areas cannot be set up in any place where smoking is prohibited. (Article 49 (5))

The contents of cigarettes are regulated, with bans on specific flavors and ingredients (such as those that give the impression of health benefits or are associated with energy and vitality). The law requires manufacturers and importers to disclose information on the contents and emissions of their products to government authorities. (Article 47)

The law bans the manufacture, wholesale distribution, sale or offer for sale, and import to trade of any e-cigarette or “other related cigarette-resembling technology product.” (Article  46(2))

The government is responsible for ensuring that the country’s tax policy on tobacco products is consistent with the FCTC. It shall also control illicit trade in tobacco products in accordance with the FCTC (Article 52).

Key Stakeholders in Tobacco Control

Article 5 of the FCTC mandates a comprehensive multi-sectoral approach to the implementation of tobacco control measures. It requires high-level political commitment and a whole-of-government approach.

The Ethiopia Food and Drug Authority (EFDA) is the main agency responsible for tobacco control policy development and implementation in Ethiopia, accountable to the Ministry of Health. EFDA is a regulatory agency at the federal level. As outlined below, other agencies and organizations bear responsibilities related to tobacco control. At the regional level, regional regulatory bodies and other departments are mandated with similar responsibilities in their respective regions.

Tobacco Control Actors and Their Roles

Source: EFDA, Ethiopia Tobacco Control Draft Strategic Plan 2015-2023 E.C(2023-2030/31)

Key stakeholders, including relevant ministries, civil society organizations and agencies, have been selected to establish the National Tobacco Control Coordinating Committee that oversees the implementation of the WHO- FCTC. A sub-committee called the National Tobacco Industry Monitoring and Response TEam has also been established under the National Tobacco Control Coordinating Committee.

Proclamation No. 1112/2019 prohibits smoking and the use of tobacco products in all indoor workplaces, public places, modes of transportation, and common areas. Smoking is also prohibited in all outdoor areas of healthcare facilities, educational institutions, amusement parks, and youth centers.

The Proclamation further prohibits smoking or tobacco use in any indoor or outdoor area within 10 meters of any public place or workplace doorway, window, or air intake mechanism. The Tobacco Control Data Initiative (TCDI) study assessed compliance with the ban on smoking in public in indoor

and outdoor hospitality venues . In this study, seven indicators were used to assess indoor compliance, while four indicators were used to assess outdoor compliance.

Compliance With Smoke-Free Laws by Hospitality Venue

In the 2022 TCDI Ethiopia study

, overall, compliance with smoke-free laws is fairly high in Ethiopia. The average compliance with smoke-free laws by indoor hospitality venues was 76.18%, while compliance by outdoor hospitality venues was 70.45%.

Indoor and Outdoor Venues’ Compliance with Smoke-Free Laws by Hospitality Venue, 2022

0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%Level of Compliance (%)Café & restaurantHotelButcher house & restaurantRestaurantBar & restaurantGroceryBarNightclub/loungeHospitality Venue83.8%79.1%79.0%78.0%77.9%72.7%60.8%57.6%76.2%71.3%69.1%69.0%68.1%66.3%57.1%64.3%

Source: TCDI Ethiopia Smoke-Free Study, 2022

As previously noted, several indicators are used to gauge a hospitality venue’s compliance with tobacco laws. The absence of a designated smoking area is one such indicator that has a high degree of compliance, with 98.2% of indoor hospitality venues and 96.4% of outdoor venues not having such areas. Similarly, the absence of ashtrays is another indicator with a high level of compliance – 94.8% of indoor venues and 98.8% of outdoor venues did not have any ashtrays. Conversely, compliance with tobacco control signage was low, with only 33.1% of outdoor hospitality venues and 35.2% of indoor venues having ‘no smoking’ signs on display.

Cafes and restaurants, hotels, and butcher houses & restaurants were the hospitality venues with the highest level of compliance with smoke-free laws. Nightclubs and bars had the lowest level of compliance.

Compliance With Smoke-free Laws by City

Indoor hospitality venues in Jigjiga and Addis Ababa had the highest level of compliance with smoke-free laws, whereas outdoor venues in Bahir Dar and Addis Ababa exhibited the highest level of compliance with these laws.

Compliance of Indoor Hospitality Venues with Smoke-Free Laws by City, 2022

  • Compliance level|
  • Fair 60-69%
  • Good 70-79%
  • Very good 80-100%