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.
Under the Tobacco Standard, all labelling for retail tobacco products, whether manufactured in, or imported into, Australia, must carry health warnings. This labelling must have:
warning statements, and
explanatory messages, and/or
The health warnings must cover a significant part of a retail tobacco package. For example, for cigarettes they must be 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, all of which are clearly outlined in the 2011 mandatory information standard.
Using tobacco products is known to cause, or increase the likelihood of, a variety of serious illnesses, including:
cancers of the lung, throat, mouth, stomach, pancreas and bladder vascular disease and strokes
chronic and acute lung diseases such as asthma attacks, emphysema and bronchitis.
Serious illnesses for non-users, particularly children
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 asthma or other serious respiratory diseases in later life.
Amendment to the Competition and Consumer (Tobacco) Information Standard 2011
Since the implementation of the Tobacco Standard, two amendments have been made. The first amendment Competition and Consumer (Tobacco) Amendment Information Standard 2012 (No.1) was signed on 30 October 2012 by the Assistant Treasurer, the Hon David Bradbury MP. This amendment involved the replacement of the heart graphic for the warning “smoking causes heart disease” to more clearly convey the type of damage smoking can cause to the heart.
The second amendment to the Tobacco Standard Consumer (Tobacco) Amendment (Rotation of Health Warnings) Information Standard 2013 was signed by the Assistant Treasurer on 24 July 2013. This amendment removes the legal requirement for retailers to rotate the health warnings displayed on the retail packaging of tobacco products (other than cigars placed into retail packaging by the retailer) although maintains the existing obligation for manufacturers and importers to ensure the health warnings are rotated as required. The instrument was registered on 25 July 2013 on the Federal Register of Instruments and commenced on the day after registration.
Suppliers can face heavy fines and recalls of non-compliant products if they trade in tobacco products that fail to meet requirements of the mandatory standard. For more details, view Penalties and consequences.
Mr Colin Richard Thompson—retail tobacco products with adhesive labels affixed to the packaging failed to comply with Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards)(Tobacco) Regulations 2004.
Raktos Distribution Services Pty Limited—Captain Black Little Cigars Filters and Captain Black Gold branded tobacco products failed to comply with the tobacco labelling requirements prescribed by the Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards) (Tobacco) Regulations 2004.