Making Victoria Smoke-free

From 1 August 2017 smoking will be banned in all outdoor dining areas in Victoria.

Under Victoria’s Tobacco Act 1987, smoking is prohibited in all enclosed workplaces and certain public spaces where members of the public gather and may be exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke.

Smoke-free outdoor dining areas

From 1 August, the Tobacco Amendment Act 2016 will amend the Act to ban smoking at all outdoor dining areas when food is available for consumption. This will include:

  • restaurants, cafes, take-away shops and licenced premises, including courtyard dining areas and footpath dining
  • food fairs
  • other organised outdoor events, including community or street festivals.

There is strong community support for this reform, with more than 73 per cent of Victorians supporting the introduction of a ban on smoking in outdoor dining areas.

Smoking will be banned:

  • in outdoor areas at hospitality and food venues used for eating food. This includes footpath dining areas, courtyards and beer gardens during times food is being eaten, or is available to be eaten
  • in all outdoor areas at food fairs. A food fair is an event where the principal activity is the supply of food for consumption at the event
  • within 10m of a food stall or food vendor at organised outdoor event (other than a food fair).

To complement smoke-free outdoor dining, smoking is banned in an outdoor drinking area if any part of that area is within 4 metres of an outdoor dining area, unless separated by a wall of at least 2.1 metres high. This means the two areas can be separated by either:

  • a 4m buffer zone; or
  • a wall at least 2.1m high.

If the separation requirement is not met, smoking is banned in an outdoor drinking area. This law applies to the same venue as well as to neighbouring venues.

Smoke-free areas

Smoke-free areas are important as they:

  • protect the community from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke
  • make smoking in the community less acceptable, the less people see smoking in public places the less they will tend to think it is okay, rather than harmful
  • support people who have quit or are trying to quit smoking.

Amendments to the Tobacco Act have extended the areas where smoking is banned across Victoria. Smoke-free areas include:

  • entrances to indoor children’s play centres, public hospitals and registered community health centres, and certain Victorian Government buildings
  • the grounds of, and entrances to, childcare centres, kindergartens, preschools and primary and secondary schools
  • outdoor recreational areas, including playground equipment, skate parks and sporting venues during under-age sporting events
  • outdoor areas of public swimming pools
  • patrolled beaches
  • enclosed workplaces
  • train stations, tram-stop platforms and tram and bus shelters
  • under-age music or dance events.

Useful links

Last updated: 22 August 2017