Easy guide to the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1992

An outline of the Act

Page last updated: 28 August 2007

The Act bans tobacco advertising with certain limited exceptions. Section 13 bans the broadcast of tobacco advertisements. Section 15 bans the publication of tobacco advertisements. On page 11 of this guide we outline what it means to ‘broadcast’ and ‘publish’ a tobacco advertisement under the Act.

The Act defines ‘tobacco advertisement’ more broadly than the everyday meaning of the term. The definition, for example, includes all writing, still or moving pictures, signs, symbols, or other images or audible messages that ‘promote smoking’ – s.9(1). There is further discussion of what the term ‘tobacco advertisement’ means on page 10 of this booklet.

The Act then provides for a number of exclusions from its broad definition of a tobacco advertisement. An example is s.9(2), which excludes from the definition, words or symbols when they appear on tobacco products, packaging and business documents. The Act also sets out certain instances where, although a publication or a broadcast may fit within the definition of publication or broadcast of a ‘tobacco advertisement’, they may be exempt from the general ban on tobacco advertising. The listing of a tobacco company in a phone book, for example, may not be a publication of a tobacco advertisement in certain circumstances – s.10(3A).

Other exceptions/exemptions to the general bans are discussed more fully beginning at page 13 of this guide.

State and Territory laws

Throughout Australia, both Commonwealth and State or Territory laws apply to tobacco advertising. State and Territory laws are often more stringent.

As a rule, the law that restricts people the most will apply if there is both Commonwealth and State and Territory laws dealing with the same issue.

This rule applies to all parts of the Act except for the part that deals with ‘point of sale’ advertising. Where a State or Territory has a law that deals with point of sale tobacco advertising, the State or Territory law applies in all cases.

For further information about State and Territory law please contact the relevant State or Territory health department.