Introduction of Tobacco Plain Packaging in Australia

In April 2010, the Australian Government announced that it would introduce legislation to mandate plain packaging of tobacco products from 1 January 2012 with full implementation by 1 December 2012.

Page last updated: 14 July 2014

In April 2010, the Australian Government announced that it would introduce legislation to mandate plain packaging of tobacco products from 1 January 2012 with full implementation by 1 December 2012.

This measure forms part of a comprehensive suite of reforms the Government is implementing to reduce smoking and its harmful effects. These reforms include an increase in the tobacco excise of 25 per cent, legislation to restrict internet advertising of tobacco products in Australia, and more than $85 million in anti-smoking social marketing campaigns, including $27.8 million for campaigns targeted at high-risk and highly disadvantaged groups who are hard to reach through mainstream campaigns.

Research shows that plain packaging will:

  • increase the noticeability, recall and impact of health warning messages
  • reduce the ability of packaging to mislead consumers to believe that some products may be less harmful than others
  • reduce the attractiveness of the tobacco product, for both adults and children.
The research evidence is also extensively set out in the reports of the Preventative Health Taskforce. For more information please visit Preventative Health Taskforce.

The Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011, which received Royal Assent on 1 December 2011, requires all tobacco products sold in Australia to be sold in plain packaging by 1 December 2012. The Tobacco Plain Packaging Regulations 2011, applying to cigarettes, were made by the Governor-General in Council on 7 November 2011. The Tobacco Plain Packaging Amendment Regulations 2012, made on 8 March 2012, amend the Tobacco Plain Packaging Regulations 2011 to incorporate additional plain packaging specifications for non-cigarette tobacco products.

The Government’s legislation and regulations are available from the following links: