Current tobacco graphic health warnings

Page last updated: 15 December 2016

Three dimensional Image of front side of cigarette pack with picture and message showing smoking harms unborn babiesHealth warnings on tobacco product packaging were updated and expanded under the Competition and Consumer (Tobacco) Information Standard 2011 (the Standard) which commenced on 1 January 2012.

The Standard updated the system of health warnings previously mandated by the Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards) (Tobacco) Regulations 2004.

Since 1 December 2012, retail packaging of tobacco products supplied in Australia must display the health warnings specified in the Standard.

The key features of the Standard includes an increase in the size of graphic health warnings to cover at least 75 per cent of the front surface of most tobacco product packaging to convey a consistent public health message on the most visible surface of the package. The Standard maintains the size of 90 per cent of the back surface for cigarette packaging but requires an increase to 75 per cent of the back surface of most other tobacco products.

The policy underpinning the Standard was informed by market research on graphic health warnings and plain packaging. This builds on the 2008 evaluation of the effectiveness of Australia’s graphic health warnings and a significant body of peer-reviewed research showing that larger health warnings, including graphic health warnings, have greater impact on consumers.

Prior to finalising the Standard, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission undertook three public consultations between September 2011 and December 2011.

The Tobacco Labelling (Graphic Health Warnings) Consultation Paper outlined the proposal for a new Tobacco Labelling Standard for graphic health warnings on tobacco products under the Australian Consumer Law and was released for public comment from 19 September 2011 to 17 October 2011.

The second round: tobacco graphic health warnings consultation paper was released for public comment on 26 October 2011 and closed on 8 November 2011. The second round consultation paper consisted of the draft Competition and Consumer (Tobacco) Information Standard 2011.

A revised draft Information Standard was released for public consultation on 14 November 2011 and closed on 5 December 2011.

Cigarette health warnings

Cigar health warnings

Examples of tobacco product packaging

An example of a cigarette pack incorporating a new graphic health warning is:

Front of pack

Three dimensional Image of front side of cigarette pack with picture and message showing smoking causes peripheral vascular disease

Back of pack

Three dimensional Image of back side of cigarette pack with picture and message showing smoking causes peripheral vascular disease

An example of the front of a loose leaf tobacco pouch incorporating a new graphic health warning is:

Three dimensional Image of front side of  loose leaf tobacco pouch with picture and message showing smoking causes peripheral vascular disease

Note: This image illustrates only one of the available front surface health warning layouts for horizontal pouches.

An example of a round loose leaf tobacco tin incorporating a new graphic health warning is:

Top of Tin

Three dimensional Image of top side of round loose leaf tobacco tin with picture and message showing smoking causes peripheral vascular disease

Bottom of Tin

Three dimensional Image of bottom side of round loose leaf tobacco tin with message showing smoking causes peripheral vascular disease


New graphic health warnings for cigarette packaging

The following representations are examples of how the images and warnings may appear on cigarette packaging.

Front of pack

Front side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking harms unborn babies

Back of pack

Back side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking harms unborn babies

Front of pack

Front side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking causes blindness

Back of pack

Back side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking causes blindness

Front of pack

Front side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking causes lung cancer

Back of pack

Back side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking causes lung cancer

Front of pack

Front side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking causes mouth cancer

Back of pack

Back side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking causes mouth cancer

Front of pack

Front side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking causes peripheral vascular disease

Back of pack

Back side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking causes peripheral vascular disease

Front of pack

Front side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking causes emphysema

Back of pack

Back side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking causes emphysema

Front of pack

Front side of cigarette pack with image and message showing quitting will improve your health

Back of pack

Back side of cigarette pack with image and message showing quitting will improve your health

Front of pack

Front side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking damages your gums and teeth

Back of pack

Back side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking damages your gums and teeth

Front of pack

Front side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking causes throat cancer

Back of pack

Back side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking causes throat cancer

Front of pack

Front side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking causes heart disease

Graphic amended October 2012

Back of pack

Back side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking causes heart disease

Graphic amended October 2012

Front of pack

Front side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking causes kidney and bladder cancer

Image licensed under Health Canada copyright

Back of pack

Back side of cigarette pack showing smoking causes kidney and bladder cancer

Image licensed under Health Canada copyright

Front of pack

Front side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking kills

Image European Community, 2005

Back of pack

Back side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking kills

Image European Community, 2005

Front of pack

Front side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking doubles your risk of stroke

Back of pack

Back side of cigarette pack with image and message showing smoking doubles your risk of stroke

Front of pack

Front side of cigarette pack with image and message showing don't let others breathe your smoke

Image European Community, 2005

Back of pack

Back side of cigarette pack with image and message showing don't let others breathe your smoke

Image European Community, 2005

The new information messages are:

Warning: The toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke damage your blood vessels, damage your body's cells and attack your immune system.
Warning: Tobacco smoke contains a toxic mix of chemicals that cause disease and early death in children and non-smoking adults exposed to the smoke.

Warning: The toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke can go everywhere that your blood flows, causing harm all over your body.
Warning: BDE (1, 3 Butadiene) is found in large amounts in tobacco smoke. BDE causes leukaemia and other cancers.

Warning: 10 drags per smoke x 20 smokes per day x 365 days per year = 70, 000 toxic drags per year.
Warning: Inhaling tobacco soke releases hydrogen cyanide into your body, a chemical that is very toxic to humans. It can damage parts of your body including your heart and lungs.

Warning: Inhaling tobacco smoke releases benzopyrenes into your body. Benzopyrenes damage how your body protects itself from getting cancer.
Warning: Inhaling tobacco smoke releases benzene into your body. Benzene causes leukaemia, increaes the risk of other cancers and is believed to be dangerous at any level of exposure.

Warning: The toxic chemicals from tobacco smoke can be found in your breath, urine and blood when you smoke.
Warning: The chemicals in tobacco smoke build up to high levels in your body over time. This increases your risk of death and disease the longer and more you smoke.

Warning: Tobacco smoke contains hydrogen cyanide. Inhaling hydrogen cyanide damages the cleaning system of your lungs, allowing toxic substances to build up in the lungs.
Warning: Inhaling even small amounts of the toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke can trigger sudden blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.

Warning: There are no known health benefits in smoking products that taste lighter, milder or less harsh. The smoke still contains a toxic mix of chemicals that cause death and disease.

Examples of cigar packaging

An example of a cigar pack incorporating a new graphic health warning is:

Front of pack

Three dimensional Image of Front side of cigar pack with picture and message showing cigar smoking damages your teeth and gums

Back of pack

Three dimensional Image of back side of cigar pack with message showing cigar smoking damages your teeth and gums

Note: This image illustrates only one of the available health warning layouts for cigar retail packaging of this shape and size.

An example of the front of a cigar box incorporating a new graphic health warning is:

Three dimensional Image of Front side of cigar box with picture and message showing cigar smoking damages your teeth and gums

Note: This image illustrates only one of the available front surface health warning layouts for horizontal cigar retail packaging. There are different health warning requirements for large cigar retail packaging (those with a front or back surface area of 250cm2 or more). Refer to the Standard in these cases.

An example of a cigar tube incorporating a new health warning is:

Two dimensional image of cigar tube with message showing cigar smoking damages your teeth and gums

Note: Cigar tubes require text only health warnings.

New graphic health warnings for cigar packaging

The following representations are examples of how the images and warnings may appear on cigar packaging. The Standard allows portrait and horizontal layout options for cigar packaging. These representations have been developed for the horizontal layout option.

Front of pack

Front side of cigar pack with image and message showing cigar smoking causes mouth cancer

Back of pack

Back side of cigar pack with image and message showing cigar smoking causes mouth cancer

Front of pack

Front side of cigar pack with image and message showing cigar smoking causes lung cancer

Back of pack

Back side of cigar pack with image and message showing cigar smoking causes lung cancer

Front of pack

Front side of cigar pack with image and message showing cigar smoking is not a safe alternative

Image European Community, 2005

Back of pack

Back side of cigar pack with image and message showing cigar smoking is not a safe alternative

Front of pack

Front side of cigar pack with image and message showing cigar smoking causes throat cancer

Back of pack

Back side of cigar pack with image and message showing cigar smoking causes throat cancer

Front of pack

Front side of cigar pack with image and message showing cigar smoking damages your teeth and gums

Back of pack

Back side of cigar pack with image and message showing cigar smoking damages your teeth and gums

All images are subject to Commonwealth copyright or used under licence.