Monday, February 6, 2023

Consumer rights, Australia

The latest position regarding consumer rights, taxation and usage of nicotine and tobacco products in Australia

Percentage adult smokers

Australia -

According to the Australian Department of Health 13.3% of adults18 years or older smoked every day in 2013. WHO statistics suggest the figure for “current smokers” was 18% in 2012.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that in 2011-12 there were 2.8 million Australians aged 18 years and over who smoked daily.

LHP status (legality, availability etc)

Sales of e-cigarettes containing nicotine are banned outright. Nicotine is classified as a Class 5 poison in Australian law and sale of liquid nicotine is therefore highly restricted. Sales of e-cigarettes with no nicotine are currently technically legal, but the federal and some state and territory governments are considering further restrictions that could amount to outright bans in some cases. For more information on e-cigarette laws and regulations in Australia and elsewhere, this site provides some insight, although cannot vouch for accuracy or currency.


As of April, 2015, tobacco products in stick form (predominantly cigarettes and cigars) not exceeding in weight 0.8 grams per stick actual tobacco content pay AU$0.47008 excise tax per stick. Other tobacco products, including nasal snuff, are rated at AU$587.62 per kilogram of tobacco content. On November 6, 2013, the Government imposed four 12.5% annual tobacco excise increases which commenced on 1 December 2013, followed by another hike on September 1, 2014. The remaining two increases will be applied on September 1, 2015 and September 1, 2016, respectively, a cumulative 60% increase over the four years. It is estimated that the average Australian smoker will pay over AU$25,000 on tobacco products over the four years of the program. To compare tax rates on a country by country basis, this WHO site, although somewhat out of date, provides some insight.

Price of a pack of 20 sticks

The cost of a pack of 20 cigarettes is now around AU$20, or about AU$1 per stick (ref). To compare costs in different countries (as of 2012), refer to WHO stats.

Illicit trade

It is estimated that illicit cigarette sales grew to 13.2% of total consumption in 2013 (Oxford Economics).

Packaging and labelling requirements

Health warnings cover at least 75% of the front of most tobacco packaging, 90% of the back of cigarette packaging and 75% of the back of most other tobacco product packaging. Since December 1, 2012, all tobacco products sold, offered for sale, or otherwise supplied in Australia must be in plain packaging. (ref).

Information on quitting smoking

The Australian Government Quitline provides help with quitting from the Quitline (link is external), telephone 13 7848, or your general practitioner.

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