New Health Warnings for Australia

On September 17, 2011, the Australian Government released a consultation paper on proposed new health warnings.  A government news release is below.  The consultation paper can be found here:

The size of the new warnings (previously announced in April 2011, and unchanged in the consultation document) will be the top 75% of the front, and the top 90% of the back, for an average of the front and back of 82.5%.  Australia will have the largest package health warnings in the world.  Uruguay is currently the largest at 80% front and back.

The current Australia package warning size is 30% front, 90% back.

 Australia intends to keep its rotation system for cigarette packages of two sets of 7 warnings, changed every 12 months. The consultation document includes images for the first set of 7 new picture warnings.  The second set of seven picture warnings are to be included in the final regulation.

There will also be a rotated series of text messages on one side panel regarding the toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke and their health effects.  The side panel will have black text on a yellow background.  Seven such messages are outlined in the consultation document.

 The consultation document also outlines proposed health warnings for tobacco products other than cigarettes.

 Australia’s proposed new package health warning requirements would come into effect on July 1, 2012, the same date as plain packaging requirements are due to come into effect.

 The consultation period ends on October 17, 2011.


 Confronting new tobacco health warnings

 The Gillard Government’s campaign to drastically cut smoking rates reached another milestone today with the release of new graphic health warnings for tobacco products.

 The Hon Nicola Roxon MP
Minister for Health and Ageing

The Hon David Bradbury MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer

 17 September 2011

The Gillard Government’s campaign to drastically cut smoking rates reached another milestone today with the release of new graphic health warnings for tobacco products.

The images, released in a consultation paper today by Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, David Bradbury, are proposed to be featured on packets and packaging of tobacco products when world-first plain packaging legislation comes into force on 1 July 2012.

“The new graphic health warnings are a striking and confronting reminder of the death and disease that tobacco brings and are a proven, effective way of helping people to kick this deadly habit,” said Ms Roxon.

“Seeing the heartbreaking harm that can be caused to an unborn baby or the horrific effects of cancer is a shocking reminder that quitting smoking is one of the best things that someone can do to improve their health.

“15,000 Australians die from tobacco each year – that’s too many families mourning the death of a loved one and why the Government is acting to protect the health of Australians.

“When the Government’s plain packaging legislation comes into effect, the warning and graphic will cover 75 per cent of the front of the cigarette pack rather than the current 30 per cent.

“Plain packaging and graphic health warnings mean that the glamour has gone,” said Ms Roxon

Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, David Bradbury, said that updating the graphic health warning standards would make sure that consumers were aware of the dangers of tobacco use.

“By updating these standards, we will ensure that the most effective graphic health warnings are used to inform consumers of the risks to their health that smoking and tobacco use pose.”

The renewal of images was recommended in a review of graphic health warnings to avoid their impact decreasing with familiarity. The images and supporting text deal with various diseases and conditions that have been proven to be caused or exacerbated by smoking, including bladder cancer, lung cancer, mouth cancer, peripheral vascular disease and emphysema.

Under the new plain packaging laws tobacco industry logos, brand imagery, colours and promotional text will be banned, with the packaging background in a standard drab dark brown colour chosen through research to have the least appeal to smokers.

A link to the consultation paper on the graphic health warnings will be available at

Tobacco Graphic Health Warnings – Posters (PDF 8984 KB)

Media enquiries, please contact the Minister’s Office on 02 6277 7220 or
0409 945 476

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