Laws begin a new era of tobacco control

Australia now has the legislation in place to underpin our renewed fight against tobacco and protect the next generation from the devastating impacts of smoking.

The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care

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Australia now has the legislation in place to underpin our renewed fight against tobacco and protect the next generation from the devastating impacts of smoking.

The passage of the Public Health (Tobacco and Other Products) Bill 2023 returns Australia to its place as a world-leader in tobacco control.

The Bill consolidates and modernises existing laws and introduces new approaches to discourage smoking. It complements the measures announced last month to protect Australians – especially young people – from the harms of vaping.

The Australian Government has worked closely with tobacco control and public health experts to ensure we have the best possible protections in place.

The Government will move quickly to finalise new regulations to support the reforms in the Bill.

The new Public Health (Tobacco and Other Products) legislation - including the requirements for health promotion inserts - will start from 1 April 2024.

There will be a 12-month transition period from 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2025.

Industry will be given a year to comply to new requirements, with retailers given a further three months.

During this time, we expect to start to see the new packaging requirements appear on the market gradually.

Measures have been introduced that reduce the appeal and attractiveness of tobacco products, and limit the ability of industry to target their marketing and advertising to our most vulnerable people.

Key reforms and new regulations include:

  • expanding advertising restrictions to vapes and any new tobacco products
  • introducing restrictions on names which falsely imply less harm
  • banning features designed to make tobacco more palatable and attractive, like menthol or crush balls
  • updating and improving graphic warnings on packaging
  • standardising packet and product sizes, and
  • including new health promotion inserts within packs and pouches to encourage and empower people to quit smoking.

Examples of potential health warnings, health inserts and dissuasive language.

The laws will improve the transparency of tobacco company activities, including sales volumes, product contents and advertising.

The proposed regulations will be available for review as part of a supplementary public consultation on Monday 11 December 2023 and close on Monday 8 January 2024.

Public submissions can be made on the Department of Health and Aged Care Consultation Hub.

The reforms give effect to Australia’s obligations under the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and are in line with the National Tobacco Strategy 2023-2030 released in May 2023.

Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:

“Today marks a new era as Australia returns to the forefront of the global fight against smoking.

“Tobacco has caused immeasurable harm and cost us countless lives.

“We cannot stand by and allow another generation of people to be lured into addiction and suffer the enormous health, economic and social consequences.

“Together with the strong measures we’re taking against vaping, these reforms will help us keep pace with the cynical marketing strategies of Big Tobacco.

“The laws passed today will save lives.”

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