• April 17, 2024

Australia to Mandate Stick Warnings

 Australia to Mandate Stick Warnings
Image: Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care

Federal laws passed in Australia will require vapes and individual cigarettes to display warning labels beginning April 2024.

The labels will include “toxic addiction,” “poisons in ever puff,” “causes 16 cancers” and “What is this costing you?” according to the Daily Mail.

Proposed new packaging images show cancerous tumors in the mouth and throat and a surgeon removing a voice box. The changes also include incorporating inserts in cigarette packs promoting the benefits of quitting smoking and providing contact information for helpline support to quit.

According to Health Minister Mark Butler, the measures are necessary because consumers have become desensitized to the warnings and images currently printed on packs.

“The most concerning thing over the last 10 years is the advice that the government has received is that the smoking rates, which have been declining steadily for 50 years or so, have started to plateau,” said Butler. “We are not currently on track to achieve the targets that are set our in the National Tobacco Strategy.”

“I am so delighted the Parliament has passed a new generation of laws to take the fight back up to big tobacco and to save more American lives,” Butler said.

Products will have 12 months to comply with the new packaging requirements. Retailers will have an additional three months to update stock.

The import of nontherapeutic and disposable single-use vapes will also be banned. 

“Today marks a new era as Australia returns to the forefront of the global fight against smoking,” Butler said. “We cannot stand by and allow another generation of people to be lured into addiction and suffer the enormous health, economic and social consequences.

“The laws that passed today will save lives.”

Current plain packaging laws state that cigarette and other tobacco product packaging must display extreme disease caused by smoking. Point of sale advertising is banned, and cigarettes for retail must be hidden from view at all times. Tobacco is also heavily taxed in Australia, and a pack is set to surpass $50 in 2026. 

The sale of illegal tobacco and vapes has increased in the country, and smoking and nicotine-based vaping among 14-year-olds to 17-year-olds has increased 15-fold in the past five years. Illegal tobacco is commonly available and widely socially acceptable.

In August, a requirement for tobacco companies to print warnings on individual cigarettes took effect in Canada.