Tobacco control

  • Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year across the globe
  • Around 80% of the world's 1.1 billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries
  • Globally, tobacco is responsible for approximately 22% of cancer deaths


The tobacco epidemic goes far beyond an issue of health – it places a tremendous burden on countries least equipped to respond to tobacco-related illness, death and cost to the economy.

Despite this, countries face enormous challenges in implementing comprehensive tobacco control laws to protect their people and communities, and when they do, they’re often met by intensive tobacco industry attempts to undermine them.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals recognise the threat tobacco poses with the inclusion of a target to strengthen the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) – an evidence-based roadmap to support all countries to reduce the harm of tobacco and protect people’s right to health.

Australia is a global leader in tobacco control and was the first country in the world to implement tobacco plain packaging in line with the WHO FCTC. Numerous governments around the world have followed our lead and introduced the tobacco control measure to protect the health of their people.

Our contribution

  • We’ve supported lawyers in Kenya, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Uganda, among others, to defend their public health laws against litigation brought by the tobacco industry.
  • Our alumni have led the development of tobacco control legislation and regulations around the world including in Ghana, Guyana, Liberia, Malaysia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Samoa, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and are progressing evidence-based and effective public health laws in many other countries.
  • We have particular expertise in tobacco plain packaging, and have worked with more than 20 countries on developing and defending tobacco plain packaging laws around the world.
  • Our expertise in tobacco control is recognised globally through our designation as a WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub, supporting Parties to the Convention to implement tobacco control laws and defend them from legal challenges by the tobacco industry.