Graphic health warnings on tobacco products have been updated and expanded in the Competition and Consumer (Tobacco) Information Standard 2011 (the Standard) which commenced on 1 January 2012.
Tobacco products were required to display the new warnings on 1 December 2012 at the same time plain packaging was fully introduced.
Between 1 January 2012 and 30 November 2012, tobacco products were able to display the new health warnings in the Standard or the existing health warnings under the Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards) (Tobacco) Regulations 2004 (the Regulations).
Under the Regulations most tobacco product packaging manufactured in, or imported into, Australia has been required to be printed with graphic health warnings since 1 March 2006. The key requirements under the Regulations are outlined below.
Cigarettes, loose and pipe tobaccoThe key features of the health warnings system for most cigarette packaging and loose tobacco (roll-your-own) and pipe tobacco packaging are as follows:
- Fourteen health warnings comprising graphic images, warning messages, explanatory messages and information messages.
- A rotation system to optimise consumer learning and awareness of the health effects of smoking. Two sets of seven health warnings (Set A and Set B) are alternated every 12 months.
- Health warnings cover 30% of the front and 90% of the back of cigarette packs, with graphics appearing on both the front and back of packs.
- Health warnings cover 30% of the front and 50% of the back of loose tobacco and pipe tobacco pouches, with graphics appearing on both the front and back of packs.
- The national Quitline number and Quitnow website address are on the back of packs providing a contact for smokers for assistance with quitting.
- An information message is required to cover one full side of cigarette packs and 25% of one side of cigarette cartons.
- The information message is also required on the inside flap of loose or pipe tobacco pouches.
- Adhesive labels are not permitted for flip-top, soft pack cigarettes and cartons, but are permitted for pipe and tobacco pouches, and other types of tobacco packages.
Graphic health warnings for cigarettes, and most loose and/or pipe tobacco for Set B
CigarsThe key features of the health warnings displayed on most cigar packaging are as follows:
- Five cigar-specific health warnings comprising graphic images, warning messages and explanatory messages.
- Health warnings occupy 25% of the front and 33% of the back of most cigar packages.
- Adhesive labels displaying the cigar warnings are permitted for all cigar products.
- An information message is not required on cigar packaging.
- Cigars are not a safe alternative to cigarettes
- Cigar smoking causes mouth and throat cancer
- Cigar smoking causes lung cancer
- Don’t let children breathe your smoke
- Cigar smoke is toxic