New tobacco control laws passed in parliament today will help tackle Australia’s leading cause of premature death and disability and make a major contribution to better health outcomes, a leading expert from The Australian National University (ANU) says.

Parliament has today passed the Public Health (Tobacco and Other Products) Bill 2023.

Professor Emily Banks, one of the world’s foremost experts on the harm caused by smoking and vaping, described the new legislation as “world-leading” and “life-saving”.

“Every family in Australia has lost a loved one to smoking,” Professor Banks said.

“Tobacco remains Australia’s leading cause of premature death and disability, claiming the lives of more than 20,000 people per year; more than 50 each day.

“It is responsible for 50 per cent of deaths aged 45 and over in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“The evidence-based legislation passed today is a landmark in Australia’s world-leading fight against tobacco.”

Professor Banks’ research has outlined the danger of smoking and vaping over many years. She said the new legislation would help address the harms of tobacco across multiple key areas.

“This new legislation brings together and polishes up our tried and true weapons against tobacco,” she said.

“This includes bringing bans on advertising into the 21st Century and continuing our plain packaging laws.

“It also includes some new weapons, like the ability to mandate standard pack sizes, to include health warnings on individual cigarettes, and to hold the industry to account by mandating reporting on sales and promotional activities.

“It is a credit to the many, many people who have worked hard over the past four years to make it happen.

“The legislation is truly life-saving and will help us to make losing loved ones to tobacco a thing of the past.”

Top image: Cigarette and e-cigarette. Photo: Andrey Popov/

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James Giggacher

Associate Director, Media and Communications

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