Tobacco Legislation

International Law

WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)

World Health Organisation treaty to address all areas of tobacco impacts. Australia has ratified it, among hundreds of countries. Above link has links to full treaty text and implementation guidelines for specific articles.

As with any other treaty, the FCTC confers legal obligations on its Parties – including Australia. We are obliged to:

  • Protect public health policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry
  • Adopt price and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco
  • Protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Regulate the contents of tobacco products
  • Regulate tobacco product disclosures
  • Regulate the packaging and labelling of tobacco products
  • Warn people about the dangers of tobacco
  • Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
  • Offer people help to end their addictions to tobacco
  • Control the illicit trade in tobacco products
  • Ban sales to and by minors

Australian Law

States and territories

Jurisdictions’ webpages for current tobacco laws and (some) government tobacco action plans/strategies:

NSW • NT • QLD • SA • Tas • Vic • WA


Bill tightens tobacco internet advertising loopholes

February 2012: ASH and health leaders have welcomed Senate passage (7/2/12) of amendments to the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act to brings restrictions on tobacco advertising on the internet into line with other media and physical points of sale.

Australian laws should get tough on tobacco industry: lawyer

November 2011: Australia should introduce far-reaching corruption and racketeering laws to fight “dirty tactics” of tobacco companies, says Slater and Gordon senior partner Peter Gordon.

Plain packs bill passed

November 2011: Australia’s tobacco plain packaging bills are passed by Parliament. The law takes full effect by December 1, 2012. Philip Morris has taken legal action as threatened, though seen by independent legal experts as unlikely to succeed.

Latest on plain packaging

US tobacco control bill passes

2009: The US House of Representatives has given overwhelming final approval to a bill granting the Food and Drug Administration regulatory authority over tobacco. This long-awaited bill now goes to President Obama to sign it into law. See US Campaign

Tobacco’s heartland moves towards smokefree bars, restaurants

2009: The tobacco industry’s birthplace state moves closer to making its bars and restaurants indoor-smokefree. Virginia legislature passes law tightly restricting smoking in restaurants. 23 other states and Puerto Rico had already outlawed indoor bar and restaurant smoking.

Victoria beefs up evidence laws after McCabe case

2005: The Victorian Government promises new laws outlawing intentional destruction of documents to prevent them being used as evidence in court. Followed McCabe v BATA case – terminal lung cancer victim unsuccessfully sued tobacco giant.