This timeline tracks events, such as, smoke-free law changes and campaigns over the 2020 – 2025 period.


COVID-19 Pandemic - Fear of the virus has triggered a lot of people to get healthier so some people are quitting smoking. But, lockdown has caused many to lose their jobs or businesses. The resulting stress has caused some people to take up smoking or smoke more.

Vaping legalised - A new law regulating vaping products passed on 5 August 2020. This will make it harder for some people, e.g. in rural areas to access a wide range of flavours and support to switch. The Government’s endorsement of vaping as a way to stop smoking will encourage many to give it a go.

QuitStrong campaign - A Government national mass media campaign encouraging people to stop smoking, including via vaping.

1 January 2021

Excise tax increase. Price of cigarettes goes up by 1.4%

7 March 2021

Vape to Quitstrong Campaign goes live. A Government national mass media campaign encouraging smokers to switch to vaping leading them to quit completely.

15 April 2021

New Associate Health Minister seeks comments on extreme ways to stop people smoking (e.g. inducing mass cold turkey)!

28 November 2021

Police begin fining people $50 if they smoke, vape or use a smokeless tobacco product in a vehicle when a person under 18 years old is present.

1 December 2021

Total adult (15yrs+) daily smoking drops to 9.4% down from 16.4% in 2011/12.

9 December 2021

Government proposes prohibition law to rapidly eliminate smoking, after which they intend to eliminate vaping.

21 June 2022

Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill introduced to parliament aims to: denicotinise smoked tobacco products, reduce the number of tobacco retailers from about 8000 nationwide to only 500-1000, increase age of purchase by 1 year every year.

1 Dec 2022

Total adult (15yrs+) daily smoking down from 9.4% to 8%.

16 Dec 2022

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Act 2022 becomes law.

1 January 2023

Step 1 of the new law comes into effect. Gifting or selling combustible tobacco products (intended for smoking) to people born on or after 1 January 2009 becomes illegal. From 1 Jan 2027 R18 will become R19 and will increase by 1 year every year.

12 November 2023

Retailers selling smoked tobacco must have notified the Director General of Health of their desire to continue selling smoked tobacco products.

1 July 2024

Retailers granted a licence to continue selling smoked tobacco products will not number more than 600.

1 April 2025

The nicotine level in smoked tobacco products will be capped at the very low level of 0.8mg per gram.