For many decades Australian smokers have been aware of the health risks of smoking.
Health warning labels communicating the risks of smoking have appeared on all cigarette packs sold in Australia since 1973 and have gone through a number of changes, including increases in size and changes to content.
According to a study conducted for the Federal Government in 2000, 98 per cent of smokers surveyed were aware of the health warnings on the front of the pack. 
Despite the widespread awareness of the risks of smoking among Australian smokers, in June 2004 the Australian government decided to replace existing text warnings with a series of Graphic or Pictorial Health Warnings.
As a result Australia now has some of the most severe tobacco pack health warnings in the world.
Since 1 March 2006, all tobacco products manufactured or imported into Australia have carried Graphic Health Warnings.
Australian tobacco pack health warnings requirements are as follows:
- Retail packs of tobacco products must carry one of a set of 14 graphic images and an explanatory message. The graphic images and messages cover 30 per cent of the front and 90 per cent of the back of cigarette packaging;
- The national Quitline phone number and website address must be printed on the back of tobacco packs to provide a contact for smokers for assistance with quitting;
- Each set of 7 warnings must be rotated every 12 months;
- Manufacturers are no longer required to list average levels of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yields on the side of pack. Instead manufacturers must print a message on the health effects of chemicals in tobacco smoke on the side of the pack;
- Cigar packs must display a set of cigar-specific health warnings.
- P Shanahan, Research report: evaluation of the health warnings and explanatory messages on tobacco products, November 2000, p17.