The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Australian graphic warnings to lead the way

Smoking emphysemaOne of Australia’s new proposed graphic health warnings. © Australian governmentThe Australian Government is taking another huge step in cutting the country’s smoking rates by releasing its proposed new graphic health warnings for tobacco products.

The new warnings are scheduled to come into effect on 1 July 2012, when the county’s plain packaging requirements are set to come into effect.

On 17 September 2011, the Australian Government released a consultation paper on the proposed new health warnings.  

Currently, Australia’s package warnings size is 30 per cent front and 90 per cent back. However, the new warnings will be the top 75 per cent of the front, and the top 90 per cent of the back, for an average of 82.5 per cent. 

This means Australia will have the largest package health warnings in the world.  Uruguay is currently the largest with 80 per cent front and back.

Australia plans to keep its rotation system for the warnings, using two sets of seven warnings, changed every 12 months.

The consultation document includes images for the first set of seven new picture warnings; the second set will be included in the final regulation.

There will also be a rotated series of text messages on one side panel regarding the toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke and their health effects.  It will have black text on a yellow background.  Seven such messages are outlined in the consultation document. 

The consultation period ends on 17 October 2011.

In a government press release Australia’s Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon said that 15,000 Australians die from tobacco each year.
“Plain packaging and graphic health warnings mean that the glamour has gone,” said Ms Roxon.

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