Following the letter and spirit of the law is the sign of a civilized and cohesive society. It also ensures you don’t get in trouble – it definitely pays to know the laws you might be treading upon.
For regular smokers, understanding Australia’s smoke free laws ensures they won’t get in trouble whenever they light a cigarette. These laws protect the environment, non-smokers, and even regular smokers from harm.
There are hefty fines and penalties for breaking the smoke free regulations in whichever state and territory you’re currently in. In this post, let’s learn more about them.
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The Smoke Free Act of 2000
First, let’s discuss The Smoke Free Act of 2000.
This Act was passed as part of the country’s efforts to reduce tobacco and smoke emissions from various sources. These include vehicle emissions, factories, cigarettes, and other sources of smoke.
Aside from environmental safety, the Act was also intended to establish proper smoking areas in various commercial and entertainment spaces. It has established that all smoking areas in bars, clubs, casinos, outdoor parks, and other spaces except for residential properties should not exceed a quarter or 25% of their total space.
The Smoke Free Act of 2000 also restricts smoking inside restrooms, foyers, lobbies, dance floors, and other spaces not part of the designated smoking space.
Simply put, it means that smokers can’t just smoke anywhere – just the designated area properly labelled and highlighted by the establishment owners. And, if they don’t label these spaces properly, they’re breaking the law.
Smoke Free Regulations in Various Territories
Each territory in the country implements The Smokefree Act of 2000 in different variations, but they all follow the letter and spirit of the law.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
If you’re in ACT establishments, they strictly follow the ACT’s specific instructions, namely providing smokers a designated area that does not exceed 25% of the total measurement of the establishment. This could be a small room or outdoor space with an easily-visible label as a smoking area.
The ACT uses a ‘penalty units’ system to establish the consequential fines for breaking the law. For instance, a 20-penalty unit mark can mean a $3,000 fine.
New South Wales
Similar to the Australian Capital Territory, smokers in NSW can only light a stick in designated areas that do not exceed a quarter of the total space. Furthermore, NSW disallows smoking in outdoor zones except for designated areas, and smoking inside a vehicle with a person under 16 years old is against the law.
Fines can begin with a caution and reach a maximum of $300 per incident of breaking the law.
In the Northern Territory, they follow the same spirit of the law established by The Smoke Free Act of 2000. Smokers can only consume tobacco in the designated smoking areas of various entertainment and commercial establishments.
The government’s penalty unit system determines the fines or consequences of repeatedly breaking the smoking law, which can begin with a simple $1,000 fine and go higher from there.
If you’re in Queensland, you might need to concentrate on your quit-smoking efforts – smokers cannot consume tobacco almost anywhere except designated outdoor spaces.
Moreover, the local government also monitors and penalises anyone who creates a ‘smoke-drift,’ a common occurrence in multi-unit or multi-story housing where excessive indoor smoking drifts to other households as secondhand smoke.
Like other territories, Queensland uses penalty units to determine the fines associated with breaking smoking laws.
South Australia implements the strictest regulations based on the ACT. If you’re here, you cannot smoke at any bus stop or in public vehicles. You can be fined up to $75 as part of your expiation notice and a maximum of $200 for violating this law.
South Australia disallows smoking inside vehicles if you’re travelling with anyone under the age of 16. Moreover, you cannot smoke in any outdoor area. If you must smoke in a bar, restaurant, or any similar establishment, you’ll need to do so inside their designated smoking areas.
In South Australia, individuals who break the law can face fines up to $1,200. Proprietors who break the law might have to cough up $20,000 for their first offence and reach a maximum of $40,000 for subsequent offences.
Are All Universities Smoke Free in Australia?
Universities are notorious for being a haven for young smokers still going through their tertiary courses. In the entire country, about 20 out of 40 Australian universities have banned smoking in outdoor eating areas, enclosed spaces, and within five metres of the university.
Are All Workplaces Smoke Free in Australia?
You cannot smoke inside your workplace or within five metres of your workplaces, including its outdoor premises. According to the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2002, any worker or anyone involved in the business can smoke inside enclosed workplace spaces.
However, businesses and companies could assign designated smoking areas for employees for most states. Similar to the specifications for bars and restaurants, companies can assign up to 25% of their total space as a designated outdoor smoking area.
Now that you understand smoke free laws in the country, you can help avoid breaking the law if you have the urge to smoke. There are hefty fines that can cost a pretty penny if you’re not careful.
Better yet, to avoid all these fines, consider stopping smoking for good and save yourself from all the hassle, unnecessary expenses, and preventable health problems smoking brings – and we can surely help you with that!
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good.