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Illicit Tobacco Review

The Commissioner for Better Regulation is reviewing Victoria's approach to illicit tobacco regulation.

The Minister for Regulatory Reform, the Hon Danny Pearson MP, has requested that the Commissioner for Better Regulation, Anna Cronin, undertake a review of Victoria's approach to illicit tobacco regulation.

Illicit tobacco works against collective efforts to reduce smoking and tobacco-related harm because it undermines tobacco control measures such as price increases and plain packaging. It also targets the most disadvantaged communities, which already have higher smoking rates. A recent report by the Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law and EnforcementExternal Link found that more could be done to control illicit tobacco.

The Commissioner's report will consider:

  • the current regulatory framework for tobacco in Victoria, with a focus on regulation of illicit tobacco
  • the regulatory frameworks applying in other relevant jurisdictions
  • recommendations for improvement, having regard to the nature of illicit tobacco sales and the parties involved
  • possible pathways to implement these recommendations, including whether new legislation and/or regulation is required
  • the costs and benefits of the preferred approach, and
  • funding considerations including possible sources of funds that may be available to assist regulation of tobacco production and sales.

As per the Terms of Reference, the report will focus on Victoria's regulatory system surrounding illicit tobacco, rather than enforcement matters.

The Commissioner has been asked to report to the Minister for Regulatory Reform and the Minister for Health by the end of April 2022.


Thank you to those who participated in the review, we appreciate the valuable contributions you have made. Written submissions closed on Friday 4 March 2022 and are being reviewed.

If you have questions or want to learn more about the review, please contact us via


Participants have kindly provided feedback and responded to specific questions on the regulation of illicit tobacco (see below). The feedback received has been instrumental in supporting the review.

    • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current regulatory settings for managing illicit tobacco in Victoria?
    • How can the current regulatory settings be strengthened to address illicit tobacco?
    • Under the current regulatory framework, how easy or difficult is it to identify, respond to and/or deter sellers of illicit tobacco?
    • Are there regulatory systems or aspects of systems in other jurisdictions that Victoria could learn from?
    • Are there innovative methods other jurisdictions have used to identify and reduce the sale of illicit tobacco?
    • What needs to be in place in regulation settings and in regulatory operations, to best detect, respond to and deter the sale of illicit tobacco?
    • What could be improved to reduce opportunities or incentives for the sale of illicit tobacco?
    • How effective and targeted would a licencing system be to reduce illicit tobacco sales?
    • If implemented, how would a licensing scheme best be designed to target illicit tobacco concerns with minimum burden?
    • What capabilities, skills and powers are needed to support an effective scheme?
    • Thinking of the above, what are the specific considerations for different kinds of sellers:
      • existing tobacco retailers
      • other retailers
      • wholesalers
      • indirect sellers (e.g. those selling online or over the phone)
      • other types of businesses.
    • Are there other key possible improvements that should be considered?

Note: Submissions from the Tobacco Industry

It should be noted that Australia is a signatory to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Under Article 5.3 of this Convention, Australia is obliged to act to protect its public health policies with respect to tobacco control from commercial or other vested interests of the tobacco industry. Interactions with the tobacco industry must only occur to the extent strictly necessary to enable effective regulation. Discussion regarding Victorian policy around illicit tobacco would be outside the scope of that permitted under Article 5.3.

To ensure that the Victorian Government meets Australia’s commitment to the Convention, as part of the Commissioner’s review of illicit tobacco, meetings will not be held with representatives of or lobbyists for the tobacco industry or for those working to further the tobacco industry’s interests.

If members from the tobacco industry or those working to further the tobacco industry’s interest choose to provide written feedback, they must disclose their affiliation to and relationship with the tobacco industry.

It should also be noted that written submissions from those affiliated with the tobacco industry may not be able to be considered or taken into account in forming policy positions in the State of Victoria.

Reviewed 07 March 2022

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