Tobacco and the Law


Australia’s states and territories control the sale of tobacco products. These laws are in place to protect children and the general public from the harmful effects of cigarettes.

Across Australia, it is illegal to sell tobacco to children and young people under the age of 18. Heavy penalties are in place to punish any person who is found selling cigarettes to under 18s.

In all States tobacco products must be sold in packets with health warnings and graphic pictures of some of the bad things smoking can do to your body.

Smoking in enclosed public places (such as restaurants, cafes, bars, and government buildings) is now banned in Australia. This is because passive smoking (breathing in other people’s cigarette smoke) is a risk to everyone’s health, not just to those who smoke.

As a result smoke-free areas are now common, and becoming more and more common all the time. Smoking is a public health hazard, and if you smoke, it’s also a personal health problem for you and your family.

Tobacco advertising

Tobacco cannot be advertised in newspapers or magazines, on the radio or television. It will become illegal to advertise it on the Internet from September 2012. Tobacco companies are not allowed to sponsor sporting events and clubs, and tobacco advertising at sporting and public events is banned.

Point of sale advertising is the advertising shown in shops that sell cigarettes. Under state and territory law point of sale advertising is severely restricted.

The federal Government has recently passed a new law that all cigarettes will soon be sold in plain packaging.

These are all about getting people to smoke less and to quit smoking.

Cigarettes have one main purpose – to make you sick and make you die before your time. That’s why so much effort is being made to stop people from smoking.