Our history

Over the past 45 years ACOSH and its member organisations have been leaders in the fight against tobacco.

Explore below to see the difference ACOSH has made to the health of Australians over the years, continuing towards a tobacco free future.

Percentage of adult smokers in Australia

1971

39% of adults smoke

1971

  • ACOSH forms in Western Australia
  • The US Surgeon General releases a major report on the health consequences of smoking
  • 39% of Australian adults smoke

1972

  • The health warning 'Smoking is a Health Hazard' is compulsory on cigarette packets in Australia

1973

  • The Australian Government implements a ban on direct tobacco advertising on radio and television in stages through to 1976

1974

  • Metropolitan trains, buses and ferries in Perth become smoke free

1975

  • Federal law bans cigarette advertising on television and radio
  • WA Government requires all persons involved in the sale of tobacco products to be licensed

1979

  • US Surgeon General's report noted that in the 15 years since the first report, more than 30,000 scientific papers provided further irrefutable evidence on the negative health consequences of smoking

1981

  • A seminal paper by Japanese epidemiologist Takeshi Hirayama clearly demonstrates the dangers of secondhand smoke; a flood of further evidence follows

1982

  • Metropolitan (Perth) Passenger Transport Trust Act 1957-1980 prohibits smoking in any vehicle on Transperth premises
  • Dr Tom Dadour brings a Private Members Bill to prohibit advertisements for smoking and tobacco products; the Bill is narrowly defeated in the Upper House

1983

  • Increase in cigarette tax is imposed in WA
  • Two million dollars is allocated for community smoking education in a WA Government bill to ban tobacco advertising, introduced into WA Parliament by the then Minister for Health (The Hon. Barry Hodge). The Bill passed through the Legislative Assembly, but was defeated by a margin of two votes in the Legislative Council. The National Heart Foundation starts the first major public education program on smoking. This is the birth of the QUIT campaign, which gains a worldwide reputation as a leader in innovation in advertising and public relations
  • 34% of Australian adults smoke

1985

  • WA libraries go smoke free
  • National Drug Summit emphasises the impact of smoking on health (WA initiative)
  • Rotating health warning on packs is introduced

1986

  • Smoking prohibited on all domestic aircraft
  • Smoking phased out in all federal workplaces
  • WA initiates an agreement by all Health Ministers to introduce strong health warnings
  • Tobacco pays for a series of newspaper advertisements to persuade the public that secondhand smoke is not a health problem. ACOSH, with others, lodges a formal complaint with the Advertising Standards Council, which is upheld. Justice Morling ultimately holds that the Tobacco Institute of Australia engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct, finding that secondhand smoke is a cause of lung cancer, respiratory disease in children, and attacks of asthma

1987

  • Stronger health warnings are introduced on cigarette packets under the Tobacco Act 1987 (Warning labels) regulations 1987: 'Smoking Causes Lung Cancer,' 'Smoking Causes Heart Disease,' 'Smoking Damages Your Lungs,' and 'Smoking Reduces Your Fitness'

1989

  • WA Public Service becomes a smoke free workplace
  • Australian Government bans all cigarette advertising in print media
  • 29.6% of Western Australian adults smoke

1990

  • WA Parliament passes the Tobacco Control Act 1990
  • WA Health Promotion Foundation (Healthway) is established to replace tobacco sponsorship of sport and the arts with health messages. Healthway also funds health promotion and research
  • Fine for sales of cigarettes to under 18-year-olds increases to $5000
  • Free samples of cigarettes and competitions involving cigarettes are banned
  • All billboard advertising of tobacco products is phased out

1991

  • WA public schools go smoke free
  • TAB agencies in WA introduce smoke free policies
  • Point-of-sale advertising regulations under the Tobacco Control Act 1990 further restrict advertising and prohibit tobacco advertising outside of shops or in view of public places
  • The Prospector train to Kalgoorlie goes smoke free
  • 23.9% of Western Australian adults smoke (Department of Health WA)

1992

  • WA taxis go smoke free, prohibiting both drivers and passengers from smoking
  • Nicotine replacement therapies are avaialble for sale

1994

  • Australian Government bans tobacco sponsorship of sports and arts
  • Australian Government increases the minimum age to purchase cigarettes from 16 to 18
  • 25% of Western Australian adults smoke (Department of Health WA)

1995

  • Australian Government introduces new and stronger health warnings on cigarette packets
  • ACOSH initiates the National Tobacco Scoreboard to recognise state, territory and federal achievements in tobacco control and to draw attention to deficits in policy and funding commitments

1997

  • Australian Government removes all remaining tobacco sponsorships, including international events
  • A new national campaign, 'Every cigarette is doing you damage' begins
  • WA Government establishes a task force on passive smoking in public places

1999

  • WA Government prohibits smoking in any public place where food is served

2000

  • 'Make Smoking History' (formerly 'Target 15') is launched by Cancer Council WA and the WA Department of Health with the goal of reducing the prevalence of smoking among WA adults to 15% or less by 2010
  • Crown Perth Casino implements smoke free gaming areas on the main gaming floor, 50% of video (poker) machines and the Cabaret Lounge
  • This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first clear and unequivocal evidence of the links between smoking and lung cancer, as proved by Sir Richard Doll and Sir Austin Bradford Hill and documented in the paper, 'Smoking and Carcinoma of the Lung'

2003

  • World Health Organisation endorses the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

2004

  • WA Labor Party announces that it will no longer accept donations from tobacco companies
  • Australian Government decides to implement graphic warnings occupying 30% of the front and 90% of the back of cigarette packets
  • 22% of Australian adults smoke

2005

  • WA Government introduces the Tobacco Products Control Bill into Parliament to replace and update the Tobacco Control Act 1990. The Bill contains amendments to the Tobacco Control Act relating to advertising, sponsorships, packaging and labelling, exemptions, sales to minors, licensing, enforcement, administration, interpretations and judicial processes
  • The ACCC rules against Tobacco Industry under the Trade Practices Act relative to its 'lights and milds' products and campaigns

2006

  • WA hotels, nightclubs and clubs go smoke free

2007

  • Licensing for tobacco retailers comes into force with strict limits on display of tobacco products at point of sale
  • City of Fremantle makes all alfresco dining areas smoke free
  • City of Joondalup makes 17 kms of beaches (Marmion to Burns Beach) smoke free
  • 19% of Australian adults smoke

2008

  • All WA Department of Health facilities go smoke free from 1 January
  • Perth Royal Show goes smoke free
  • State Emergency Ministers and the Federal Attorney-General endorse a decision for fire-safe cigarettes
  • WA Minister for Corrective Services makes all enclosed areas (including prisoners’ cells) at Greenough Regional Prison smoke free. Greenough is seen as a pilot for all Department of Corrections facilities becoming smoke free
  • Several WA local governments implement smoke free policies, including Rockingham, Fremantle, Perth, Joondalup, Vincent, Geraldton/Greenough
  • City of Cockburn is the first WA local government to decide on a comprehensive smoke free policy

2009

  • The Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill 2008 passes through WA Parliament
  • Smoking in cars carrying children is prohibited
  • All tobacco products are to be placed out of sight at point-of-sale in retail premises
  • Patrolled beaches are smoke free
  • Childrens' playgrounds are smoke free
  • All alfresco dining areas are smoke free, with an exception for up to 50% of a hotel's alfresco area

2010

  • Australian Government commits more than $100 million to 'Tackling Indigenous Smoking' over four years
  • Perth Zoo goes smoke free
  • Australian Government announces a 25% increase in tobacco excise
  • Fire-safe cigarettes are compulsory in Australia
  • Significant additional funding is dedicated to tobacco media campaigns
  • 14.9% of Australian adults smoke
  • 8% of Western Australian 12-17 year olds smoke

2011

  • Public hearings are held to inquire into the funding of political parties and election campaigns (including donations made by tobacco companies)
  • Australian Government introduces new, larger, rotating graphic health warnings on tobacco products

2012

  • All tobacco products in Australia are required to be sold in plain packaging as of 1 December
  • Australian Government bans tobacco advertising on the internet
  • All WA universities commit to implementing smoke free policies; many TAFEs do the same
  • 13% of Western Australian adults smoke

2013

  • Duty free limits on tobacco substantially drop (from 200 to 50)
  • Australian Government announces significant tobacco excise increases over the next three years to follow the 2013 increase
  • Australian Government commits to excise increases
  • Federal and State election commitments around tobacco control are obtained
  • The Australian Future Fund, the Governments of ACT, SA and NSW, and a number of major superannuation funds agree to divest from tobacco funds
  • Aboriginal tobacco control workers in WA meet to devise a statewide strategy to address Aboriginal smoking rates and address harm minimisation strategies
  • WA Government’s superannuation fund, GESB, divests from tobacco companies
  • City of Perth pedestrian shopping malls go smoke free

2014

  • WA Supreme Court decides that e-cigarettes are found to resemble a tobacco product and cannot be sold in WA. A seller of e-cigarettes convicted of this offence
  • 12.5% excise increase on 1 September

2015

  • Australian Government announces that the revised Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) program will receive a budget of $116.8 million over three years ($35.3 million in 2015-16; $37.5 million in 2016-17 and $44 million in 2017-18)
  • 12.5% excise increase on 1 September
  • WA Department of Corrective Services approves a smoking reduction strategy
  • All TAFE campuses in WA become smoke free

2016

  • 12.5% excise increase on 1 September
  • Release of the Post Implementation Review of Tobacco Plain Packaging
  • Australian Government announces four 12.5% annual tax increases, pushing the price of cigarettes to $40 a pack by 2020. Duty free cigarette allowance to be cut from 50 to 25, extra funds to support defense of plain packaging in trade disputes and $7.7m to strengthen Border Force to tackle illicit tobacco
  • WA Supreme Court highlights that products that resemble tobacco products, regardless of whether they contain nicotine or not, cannot be sold in WA and it is an offence under the Tobacco Products Control Act to sell these products
  • Shire of Margaret River-Augusta implements a smoke free CBD policy
  • Bull Creek, Bentley Plaza and Midland Gate shopping centres implement a 10 - 20 metres smoke free buffer zone
  • The WA Minister for Health announces his intention to introduce the Tobacco Products Control Act Bill 2016 that includes: prohibiting minors selling tobacco products, stopping tobacco sales at events such as music festivals and other public events, preventing the inclusion of tobacco purchases in shopping reward schemes, requesting the display of graphic health warnings as part of price boards, prohibiting the sale of fruit and confectionery-flavoured tobacco products, and split pack cigarettes, prohibiting specialists tobacco retailers displaying tobacco products, phased in over two years