Tobacco legislation and policy timeline

Percentage of adult smokers in Australia


39% of adults smoke


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


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


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


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


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


  • 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


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


  • 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


  • An increase in cigarette tax is imposed in Western Australia
  • Two million dollars is allocated for community smoking education in a WA Government bill to ban tobacco advertising, introduced into WA Parliament by the Minister for Health (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 world-wide reputation as a leader in innovation in advertising and public relations
  • 34% of Australian adults smoke


  • Western Australian libraries go smoke-free
  • National Drug Summit emphasizes the impact of smoking on health (WA initiative)
  • Rotating health warning on packs are introduced.


  • Smoking is prohibited on all domestic aircraft
  • Smoking is phased out in all federal workplaces
  • Western Australia 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 second hand 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 second hand smoke is a cause of lung cancer, respiratory disease in children, and attacks of asthma


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


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


  • The Tobacco Control Act 1990 passes in Western Australia Parliament
  • The Western Australia 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
  • The 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


  • Western Australian schools go smoke-free
  • TAB agencies in Western Australia 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)


  • Western Australian Taxis go smoke-free, prohibiting both drivers and passengers from smoking
  • Nicotine Replacement Therapies are available for sale


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


  • The 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 draw attention to deficits in policy and funding commitments


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


  • The Western Australian Government prohibits smoking in any public place where food is served


  • 'Make Smoking History' (formerly 'Target 15) is launched by Cancer Council WA and the WA Department of Health. The goal: to reduce the prevalence of smoking among WA adults to 15% or less by 2010
  • Burswood 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


  • The World Health Organisation endorses the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control


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


  • The Western Australian 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 under the Trade Practices Act realtive to its 'lights and milds' products and campaigns


  • Western Australian hotels, nightclubs and clubs to smoke-free


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


  • All Western Australian Department of Health facilities go smoke-free from 1 January 2008
  • The Perth Royal Show goes smoke-free
  • State Emergency Ministers and the federal Attorney-General endorse a decision for fire-safe cigarettes
  • The 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 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


  • 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
  • Children's playgrounds are smoke-free
  • All alfresco dining areas are smoke-free, with an exception for up to 50% of a hotel's alfresco area


  • The Australian Government commits more than $100 million to 'Tackling Indigenous Smoking' over four years
  • The Perth Zoo goes smoke-free
  • The 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


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


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


  • Duty free limits on tobacco substantially drop (from 200 to 50)
  • The Government announces significant tobacco excise increases over the next three years to follow the 2013 increase
  • The new Federal Government commits to the 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 state-wide strategy to address Aboriginal smoking rates and address harm minimization strategies
  • Western Australia State Government’s superfund GESB divests from tobacco companies
  • City of Perth pedestrian shopping malls go smoke-free


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


  • The Federal Government announces that the revised Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) programme will receive a budget of $116.8 million over 3 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 Corrective Services approves a Smoking Reduction Strategy
  • All TAFE campuses in WA become smoke free


  • 12.5% excise increase on 1 September
  • Release of the Post Implementation Review of Tobacco Plain Packaging
  • The Federal 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
  • The Supreme Court of WA 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
  • The City of Margaret River Shire of 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


  • The Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 regulations were gazetted and effective from 18 March 2019
  • Tobacco licences will not be issued for the sale of tobacco products at sporting, cultural or other events, such as music festivals or market stalls.
  • Updated health warnings must be displayed next to where tobacco information or price signage is publicly displayed, and price boards reduced to no larger than A4.
  • Specialist tobacco retailers are no longer allowed to display tobacco products or smoking implements where they can be seen from a public place outside the premises.
  • Smoking is not allowed within five metres of a public entrance to an enclosed public place, and within 10 metres of air conditioning intakes.
  • From 18 September 2020 employees under the age of 18 years will be prohibited from selling tobacco products.
  • 11.8% of Western Australian adults smoke daily (ABS National Health Survey 2017-18)