Australia Enacts Stringent Smoking Laws to Curb Youth Smoking

The Australian Federal Parliament has passed sweeping smoking legislation aimed at curbing smoking among the younger generation by introducing new graphic warnings on electronic cigarettes and prohibiting the use of attractive names for e-cigarette products.

As part of these changes, graphic warning labels on all cigarette packaging will be updated and extended to include electronic cigarettes. Additionally, all tobacco packaging will be standardized, encompassing the design and appearance of filters. Current advertising restrictions on cigarettes will now be expanded to cover electronic cigarettes.

Health Minister Mark Butler stated that these changes in smoking laws will save lives, emphasizing the immeasurable harm caused by tobacco in the country. During a parliamentary session, he remarked, “Tobacco has caused incalculable harm in this country, taking countless lives.”

“We cannot stand by as yet another generation is lured into the trap of smoking, suffering immense health, economic, and social consequences. These reforms passed by Parliament will help us keep pace with the deceptive market strategies of big tobacco companies.”

Approximately 20% of Australians aged 18 to 24 use electronic cigarettes, with about one in seven in the 14 to 17 age group using these products.

The implementation of these laws coincides with the government’s decision to ban the importation of disposable e-cigarettes starting early next year. Doctors and nurses will still have the authority to prescribe therapeutic e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool. Importing or supplying e-cigarettes that do not meet regulatory standards set by medical authorities will become illegal starting March next year.

Butler noted that despite the government’s efforts to reduce the national smoking rate to below 10% by 2025, the smoking rate among young people is on the rise due to electronic cigarettes.

He stated, “Australia has now enacted laws to support a fresh assault on tobacco and protect the next generation from the devastating impacts of smoking.”

Terry Slevin, CEO of the Australian Public Health Association, hailed the new laws as a welcome step. “These new laws, together with the e-cigarette regulations taking effect from January next year, will save thousands of lives and reaffirm Australia as a global leader in tobacco control,” he said. “This is good news for Australia’s children and future generations, who will be better protected against the influence of the tobacco industry.”