What is plain packaging?
Under plain packaging laws, all tobacco products must:
- be packaged in a certain colour
- display brand names in certain ways
- display the required text and graphic health warnings
- not display logos, brand images or promotional text.
These laws apply if you sell, offer to sell, supply, package or manufacture tobacco products in Australia. Even if your products for sale are not visible to the public, they must still meet plain packaging laws.
You can view the laws on the Federal Register of Legislation website:
To find out how we developed these laws read the introduction of tobacco plain packaging in Australia or read about our current tobacco control legislation review.
The requirements for text and graphic health warnings are set out in the Competition and Consumer (Tobacco) Information Standard 2011. Find out more about health warnings on tobacco products.
Why is plain packaging important?
Plain packaging aims to improve public health in Australia by reducing smoking rates.
Plain packaging discourages people from using tobacco by:
- reducing the appeal of tobacco products
- making health warnings more effective
- removing misleading information on packaging.
Plain packaging is part of Australia’s tobacco control activities – policies and programs that aim to reduce tobacco-related harm in our community.
How is plain packaging administered and enforced?
We administer, enforce and defend tobacco plain packaging laws.
To administer the laws, we:
- inform the community about plain packaging laws
- keep the laws up to date
- guide and educate tobacco companies on how to meet the laws.
To investigate breaches or enforce the laws, we follow our enforcement policy.
We also defend the laws against legal challenges and disputes.
Does plain packaging work?
Yes, it works. The plain packaging laws started on 1 December 2012. A review in 2016 found that plain packaging:
- has helped to reduce smoking and passive smoking in Australia
- is having a positive impact
- is expected to continue reducing smoking rates.
Read the full Post-implementation Review on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.
To find out more about the effects of plain packaging, read our survey and research reports:
- Market research reports on plain packaging
- Plain packaging papers – these are based on data from a plain packaging monthly survey undertaken from 2012 to 2014.
Meeting plain packaging laws
If you need help understanding or meeting the laws, read our plain packaging guides and resources.
For more about health warning requirements, go to health warnings on tobacco products.
If you’ve read our guidance and still have questions, contact our plain packaging team.
Make a complaint
If you think a tobacco product is in breach of the plain packaging laws, fill in the plain packaging complaint form and send it to us.
- consider all complaints
- assess each complaint and prioritise based on risk
- do not provide updates on the progress or outcome of a complaint.
Find out more about how we approach compliance by reading our enforcement policy or by contacting us at the email below.