The Australian government has unveiled a new comprehensive tobacco control legislation aimed at improving public health and addressing the risks associated with e-cigarettes. The proposed legislation, known as the Public Health (Tobacco and Other Products) Bill 2023, consolidates eight existing tobacco-related laws, regulations, instruments, and court decisions into a single streamlined Act of Parliament and associated regulations.
The bill consists of seven chapters that cover various aspects of tobacco control. Chapter 2 focuses on the regulation of tobacco and e-cigarette advertising and sponsorships, expanding the existing provisions to include e-cigarettes. Chapter 3 introduces requirements for plain packaging of tobacco products and includes provisions for regulating ingredients, product design features, pricing, and the prohibition of terms implying reduced harm. It also allows for the inclusion of health promotion inserts. Chapter 4 provides for permanent bans on certain regulated tobacco items, such as chewing tobacco and snuffs intended for oral use.
Additionally, the proposed legislation introduces new reporting requirements in Chapter 5, which would oblige manufacturers and reporting entities to provide information on tobacco products sold, advertising activities, and research and development activities. Chapter 6 outlines compliance and enforcement provisions, including the appointment of authorized officers and the issuance of civil penalties, infringement notices, enforceable undertakings, and injunctions. Lastly, Chapter 7 covers miscellaneous provisions and delegations.
The objective of the legislation is threefold: to discourage smoking and the use of regulated tobacco items, to fulfill Australia's obligations as a party to the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), and to address the health risks associated with vaping and e-cigarette use. The proposed legislation aligns with Australia's commitments under various articles of the WHO FCTC, including those related to public health protection.
The Australian government is seeking public input and comments on the proposed legislation. Interested stakeholders and individuals have a 42-day period from the date of notification to submit their feedback. The proposed adoption date for the legislation is April 1, 2024, with provisions set to enter into force progressively between April 2024 and July 2025.