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The Federal Government is considering printing ‘smoking kills’ on individual cigarettes

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Health Minister Mark Butler said the measures would "re-establish our reputation as a global leader in tobacco control".
The government's new restrictions on arrivals from China went against top health advice

The Federal Government has suggested printing “smoking kills” on individual cigarettes as part of a broader proposal to cut down smoking rates in Australia.

The proposal involves 11 measures overall, which also include mandating unattractive colours on individual cigarettes, broader health warnings for all tobacco products, and new advertising standards.

The context

Health Minister Mark Butler announced the proposed reforms in an address on Wednesday. This was to mark 10 years since plain-packaging laws came into effect in Australia.

In his address, Butler said the measures would “re-establish our reputation as a global leader in tobacco control”.

What are the measures?

The 11 measures include designing individual cigarettes in “unattractive” colours or printing health warnings like “smoking kills”.

They also include limiting the use of ‘organic’ or ‘light’ tags on tobacco products, which Butler said “falsely imply that these products are less harmful”. Advertising regulations would also be updated to address e-cigarette use.

The measures haven’t been finalised and will undergo further consultation before legislation is tabled in Parliament.

Are they supported?

Shadow Health Minister Anne Ruston told TDA the Opposition supported “real and tangible” health reform. She didn’t confirm if they would support the proposed measures, saying the Government has provided “scant detail” about how the measures would be delivered.

The measures have been welcomed by multiple health organisations, including the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Council on Smoking and Health.

Global precedent

No country has legislated requirements for individual cigarettes to be printed with written warnings.

However, the Canadian Government announced in June proposed reforms to introduce written health warnings on individual cigarettes.

The Government said this would make it “virtually impossible” to avoid all health warnings.

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