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Tobacco health warnings

Tobacco health warning example

All retail tobacco products must carry health warnings. These health warnings are placed on tobacco products to deter smokers from continuing tobacco consumption.

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Health warnings

Health warning labels must:

  • contain prescribed graphics
  • include a warning statement, explanatory message and/or and information messages
  • be frequently rotated.

The health warning must cover 75 per cent of the front and 90 per cent of the back of a cigarette packet. Cigars and other tobacco products have their own specific requirements for health warnings.


Using tobacco products has been linked to a variety of illnesses, including:

  • lung cancer
  • throat cancer
  • pancreatic cancer
  • stomach cancer
  • kidney and bladder cancers
  • acute chest illnesses and diseases
  • chronic chest illnesses and diseases
  • lung illnesses and diseases
  • stomach ulcers.

Non-users, particularly children, can also suffer serious illness if they are exposed to second-hand smoke. Women who use tobacco products during pregnancy expose their children to the risk of serious respiratory illnesses. Children exposed to second-hand smoke also have an increased risk of these illnesses, including:

  • reduced lung function, especially for infants
  • an increase in lower respiratory tract infections during infancy
  • impaired lung growth 
  • the risk of developing more serious respiratory diseases in later life.
Mandatory Standards

Mandatory Standards

The Competition and Consumer (Tobacco) Information Standard 2011 (Tobacco Standard) for tobacco products came into effect on 1 December 2012. It covers a variety of labelling, including explanatory, information and warning messages and graphics.


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Smoking is one of the main preventable causes of death and disease in Australia. Taking into consideration sickness and disability as well as deaths, tobacco causes more disease and injury in Australia than any other single risk factor.

  • 15 000 deaths per year are caused by smoking in Australia.
  • A conservative estimate states that smoking kills about 50 per cent of all persistent users in Australia.

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