Tobacco shake-up under proposed new legislation
Sep 01,2023 | VAPES.BAR
Warnings on individual cigarettes, health inserts inside packs and the banning of flavours in vapes and other items are among a raft of new "world-leading" changes proposed by the federal government in a new bid to crack down on vaping and smoking.
On World No-Tobacco Day, Health Minister Mark Butler said the proposed legislation - some 300 pages long - will be released today, with the hopes of it being introduced to parliament later this year and written into law by April 2024.
Butler said the changes are primarily aimed at driving down soaring vaping rates among the nation's youth, while tackling the 12 per cent of Australians who still smoke daily.
"Broadly, these measures that are contained in the draft legislation seek to deal with marketing strategies that the tobacco industry has put in place to get around the intention of the plain packaging and graphic package we put in place 10 years ago," Butler said.
"Over the last 10 years, it's clear there has been no significant action taken to build on the reforms that Nicola Roxon led a decade ago.
"Here in Australia, still, tobacco, or smoking, is the leading cause of preventable death and disability in this country.
"About 12 per cent of Australians are daily smokers, although that's come down dramatically over the last decade, but it still accounts to over two million Aussies smoking on a daily basis."
"As a result of no additional action" taken in recent years, Butler added, "smoking rates have essentially flatlined".
In fact, a recent study published in the British Medical Journal "indicated that Australia is currently not on track to meet the targets that were agreed by all governments in the National Tobacco Strategy."
As a result, the health minister announced that Labor intend to implement following:
Standardise package sizing and products
Standardise the look and the size of filters (to deal with vogue-style cigarettes in particular)
Prohibit flavours and additives
Limit and prohibit use of names that are designed to mislead users
Update the warnings and the graphic images that are on cigarette packs
Include health warnings on each individual cigarette inside a pack
Require the tobacco industry to include public health inserts in all of their packs
"This legislation as I said, is in draft form being published as an exposure draft today along with a consultation paper," Butler said.
"I intend to introduce this into the parliament later this year... and we intend to get this legislation passed by the parliament by the first of April, 2024.
"There will be a transition period of 15 months, so the new regulations, new requirements, will come into effect on the first of July 2025."