Individual cigarettes could have health warning labels under reforms designed to stamp out smoking (stock image)
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Individual cigarettes could soon have health warning labels printed on them under harsh new anti-smoking crackdown

  • Overall smoking rates have stopped declining
  • But smoking is increasing among young people

Individual cigarettes could have health warning labels under reforms designed to stamp out smoking.

Health Minister Mark Butler revealed the government’s ambitious plan to overhaul tobacco controls and reduce smoking rates to less than five per cent by the end of the decade.

But he ruled out Australia following New Zealand’s path of imposing aged-based bans to prevent the next generation of smokers.

‘This is a genuinely progressive, world-leading package that will make a real difference,’ Mr Butler told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Individual cigarettes could have health warning labels under reforms designed to stamp out smoking (stock image)

Individual cigarettes could have health warning labels under reforms designed to stamp out smoking (stock image) 

Health Minister Mark Butler revealed the government's ambitious plan to overhaul tobacco controls and reduce smoking rates to less than five per cent by the end of the decade. Pictured, current health warnings on packs

Health Minister Mark Butler revealed the government’s ambitious plan to overhaul tobacco controls and reduce smoking rates to less than five per cent by the end of the decade. Pictured, current health warnings on packs

Under the proposed laws, released to coincide with World No Tobacco Day, individual cigarettes will have health warnings on them, packets will have improved graphic warnings, packs and product sizes will be standardised, certain additives will be banned and the use of appealing names will be limited.

Mr Butler sounded the alarm on smoking rates in Australia flatlining to about two million daily smokers after decades of decline.

He said he would not ‘raise the white flag’ on smoking at 12 per cent of adults when the rate among youth was climbing.

‘We are determined to keep renewing the fight against an industry that keeps changing its strategy … to get around what a government might decide,’ Mr Butler said.

‘So you can’t just set and forget.

‘You’ve got to remain agile.’

Asked if the government would consider restricting access to Parliament House for tobacco lobbyists, Mr Butler said that was not a decision for government.

‘I will be writing to all members of parliament … to remind every single member of parliament, senator and public servant for that matter, that Australia is a signatory to a convention under the World Health Organisation that warns very clearly against direct contact with the tobacco industry,’ he said.

Vapes or e-cigarettes will be captured under advertising restrictions.

Pharmacy Guild president Trent Twomey questioned the government resources being allocated to vape enforcement.

‘Are pharmacists now to be policemen?’ he said.

‘I have near my pharmacies at least half a dozen vaping stores.

Federal health minister Mark Butler previously announced the tobacco tax would be raised by five per cent a year for the next three years from September.

Federal health minister Mark Butler previously announced the tobacco tax would be raised by five per cent a year for the next three years from September.

‘I don’t see how this is going to work in practice.’

The legislation will be introduced to parliament later this year to replace current controls due to lapse in April next year.

Public consultation will remain open until mid-July.

Mr Butler previously announced the tobacco tax would be raised by five per cent a year for the next three years from September.

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