Major law reforms strike at the heart of illicit tobacco traders in Queensland

Published Thursday, 25 May, 2023 at 05:57 PM

Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

  • The Queensland Parliament has passed legislation introduced by the Palaszczuk Government to strengthen Queensland’s anti-smoking and illicit tobacco laws and their enforcement.
  • The amendments include stronger enforcement action on illicit tobacco sale and supply, the introduction of a licensing scheme for the sale of tobacco, the expansion of smoke-free areas and tougher restrictions on cigarette and vape sales in licensed venues.
  • ­­The maximum penalty for supplying illicit tobacco will be $43,125 and the maximum penalty for storing illicit tobacco will be $20,125.

Armed with new laws, Queensland Health will take control of ridding our community of illicit tobacco and cracking down on anyone who sells it with hefty fines.

By streamlining the previous laws, the government is confident Health authorities will be able to move with more agility to target and prosecute illegal operators with one lead agency taking up the fight.

Queensland Police will support Health Officers, assuming the important role of investigating and seizing illegal tobacco products.

The laws aim to keep illegal tobacco off the streets and ensure only “fit and proper” people are licensed to sell and store legal products. 

The government believes the new measures will send a clear message to illegal suppliers that trading in illicit tobacco is no longer low risk with high reward,

Anyone growing, selling, or storing illicit tobacco will be caught and dealt with appropriately.

Queensland Health is also working with the Department of Justice and Attorney-General to introduce penalty infringement notices for many of the new offences under the Act, enabling use of ‘on-the-spot’ fines by authorised persons.

The illicit tobacco legislation follows the government’s crackdown on vaping and e-cigarettes and businesses involved in selling e-cigarette products.

A parliamentary inquiry will shortly begin into vaping and e-cigarettes with a focus on children and teenagers.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women, Shannon Fentiman:

“Despite the success we have had in reducing the number of Queensland smokers by more than half over the past 25 years, smoking still causes far too many preventable deaths.

“We are coming after illegal tobacco products and the people involved in producing, selling or storing it, you will be caught, and you will face hefty penalties”.

“The maximum penalty for supplying illicit tobacco will be $43,125 and the maximum penalty for storing illicit tobacco will be $20,125.

“These major tobacco law reforms were developed after consulting key stakeholders such as retailers and hospitality businesses, small businesses, and public health agencies.

“Among other reforms, they introduce a licensing scheme for wholesale and retail suppliers of smoking products.

“They make it an offence to supply illicit tobacco, or for retailers to even store illicit tobacco, and provide high penalties for doing so.”

Quotes attributable to the AMA Queensland President, Dr Maria Boulton:

“Taken in conjunction with the federal government’s move to crack down on non-prescription nicotine products, we are finally seeing real action to protect young people from nicotine addiction and lung damage.

“Vaping is emerging as a real health threat to young Queenslanders, particularly those who would never consider smoking a tobacco cigarette.”

Quotes attributable to the Lung Foundation Australia CEO, Mark Brooke:

“We welcome the passing of the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Amendment Bill.

“These reforms are integral in continuing the decades of hard work by the Queensland Government to reduce tobacco and e-cigarette use and protect the health of young people and non-smokers. 

“Queensland has long been a leader in tobacco control, and we are heartened to see these strong efforts continue.”


Media contact: Natarjsha Kramer 0456 436 934