Key messages

  • Smoking is prohibited at or within 10 metres of all public children’s playground equipment, skate parks, and sporting venues during organised under-age sporting events.
  • Smoking is also banned in outdoor areas of public swimming pool complexes, including all dining and drinking areas.
  • If local councils have laws prohibiting smoking in areas not covered by the statewide ban, or if a local law goes further than the ban, these laws will remain applicable in areas and times not covered by the statewide ban.

Under an amendment to Victoria’s anti-smoking legislation, smoking is now prohibited within 10 metres of all outdoor public children’s playground equipment and skate parks, and during organised under-age sporting events, as well as in outdoor areas of public swimming pools.

The new ban aims to provide a smoke-free environment in areas frequented by children and families, and also applies to any outdoor dining and drinking areas situated within 10 metres of these facilities.

Smoke-free children's recreational areas - FAQs

  • Why has smoking been banned where children play?

    The smoking bans aim to:

    • provide children and young people with a healthy, smoke-free environment in which to play
    • limit exposure to the harmful effects of second-hand tobacco smoke
    • reduce the ‘normality’ and social acceptability of smoking behaviour
    • support smokers who are trying to quit and those trying to cut down.
  • Where is smoking banned?

    Smoking is banned:

    • at or within 10 metres of children’s playground equipment that is an outdoor public place
    • at or within 10 metres of a skate park that is an outdoor public place
    • at or within 10 metres of a sporting venue that is an outdoor public place during an organised under-age sporting event (including training or practice sessions and during breaks in play)
    • in an outdoor area of a swimming pool complex that is a public place.
  • Where does the ban apply at children’s playground equipment?

    The ban applies at or within 10 metres of children’s playground equipment that is an outdoor public place.

    Children’s playground equipment may include an individual piece of equipment as well as clusters of playground equipment, such as climbing frames, swings or slides.

    The ban applies to outdoor dining and drinking areas within 10 metres of outdoor children’s playground equipment.

    The following diagram shows an example of where the ban applies at children’s playground equipment.

    No-smoking area at children’s playground equipment

  • Where does the ban apply at skate parks?

    The ban applies at or within 10 metres of a skate park that is an outdoor public place.

    Skate parks are defined as being areas specifically designed and equipped with structures for rollerblading, rollerskating and skateboarding, or the use of BMX bikes or non-motorised scooters.

    The ban applies to outdoor dining and drinking areas situated within 10 metres of an outdoor skate park.

    The following diagram shows an example of where the smoking ban applies at skate parks.

    No-smoking area at a skate park

  • Where does the ban apply at sporting venues during an organised under-age sporting event?

    The ban applies at or within 10 metres of a sporting venue that is an outdoor public place during an organised under-age sporting event. This includes training or practice sessions to prepare for an organised under-age sporting event, and breaks or intervals during the course of the event, training or practice session.

    The ban also applies to outdoor dining and drinking areas within 10 metres of an outdoor public sporting venue during an organised under-age sporting event or training session.

    The following diagram shows an example of where the smoking ban applies at sporting venues during an organised under-age sporting event.

    No-smoking area at an underage sporting event

  • Where does the ban apply at swimming pools?

    The smoking ban applies to all outdoor areas within the perimeter of a public swimming pool complex, including outdoor dining and drinking areas.

    The following diagram shows an example of where the ban applies at a swimming pool complex.

    No-smoking area at a public swimming pool complex

  • Where do the bans not apply?

    The bans do not apply to a person:

    • at a residential premises (in privately owned homes or land)
    • in a motor vehicle that is being driven past the no-smoking area
    • in an area that is separated from the no-smoking area by a road.
  • What is considered a ‘sporting venue’?

    Under the law, a ‘sporting venue’ includes:

    • a playing field
    • a track
    • an arena
    • a court or rink
    • any permanently or temporarily erected public seating at the venue
    • any seating, marshalling area, warm-up area, podium or other part of the venue reserved for the use of competitors or officials
    • any part of the venue used to conduct the actual organised under-age sporting event.

    For example, if there are courts or ovals next to one another, the sporting venue is considered to be the court/s or oval/s where the under-age sporting event is taking place.

    In the following diagram, an under-age sporting event is taking place on netball courts A and B, but not on the football oval. In this situation the smoking ban would apply at or within 10 metres of the netball courts and the accompanying spectator seating area.

    No-smoking area at a sporting venue (netball courts)

  • What is considered an ‘organised under-age sporting event’?

    Under this law, an ‘organised under-age sporting event’:

    • is planned in advance
    • is organised or intended for, or predominantly participated in by, persons under the age of 18 years
    • is conducted according to established rules by a professional or amateur sporting body or by an educational institution
    • may be a one-off event or part of a series of events.

    The following are examples of organised under-age sporting events:

    • a Little Athletics meet
    • an interschool/school sporting event participated in by people in their final years of secondary school, some of whom may be over the age of 18
    • an under-age football match run by a regional football league.

    The following are not organised under-age sporting events:

    • an open-age netball game where some of the players are minors
    • an open-age football match in which most of the players are over the age of 18
    • an informal or impromptu sporting activity involving minors at an outdoor public sporting venue.
  • How will I know when the ban applies at sporting venues?

    The smoking ban applies when an organised under-age sporting event is taking place. To help you determine whether an organised under-age sporting event is taking place, consider whether:

    • children under 18 years of age are playing in a match, game, tournament or other event conducted by an amateur or professional sporting body or educational institution
    • participants are wearing sporting uniforms
    • there is supervision that may consist of coaching, officiating or umpiring of under-age people
    • a whistle, siren or other alert is used to indicate the match, game or event has started or finished.

    In most cases spectators and parents will know an organised under-age sporting event is occurring based on the way the event has been described. Under-age sporting events are likely to be described as age-limited, for example ‘under 16s’ or ‘junior’.

    There may also be ‘No smoking’ signs displayed at the venue to inform people of the ban.

    Note that the ban also includes training or practice sessions to prepare for an under-age sporting event, and breaks and intervals in play.

  • What if a sporting club or venue already has a smoke-free policy?

    The statewide ban is a minimum standard. If a sporting club has its own smoking ban in place, any requirements of that ban should be met in addition to the legislative ban.

  • What if there is a local law in place?

    Some councils have local laws in place that ban smoking in certain outdoor areas.

    Where a council has a local law that bans smoking in an area covered by the statewide bans, the local law will become inoperative to the extent that it is inconsistent with the statewide bans.

    If councils have local laws prohibiting smoking in areas that are not covered by the statewide bans, or if a local law goes further than the statewide bans, they still will be applicable in areas and times not covered by the statewide bans. Local council inspectors can still educate the public and take enforcement action under these local laws where the statewide bans do not apply.

    For example, if a local law bans smoking within five metres of children’s playground equipment, the local law will become inoperative, as it is inconsistent in its full extent with the statewide ban.

    If there is a local law banning smoking within 10 metres of a sports ground, the local law will become inoperative to the extent it is inconsistent with the statewide ban. In other words, the local law will not be in operation only during an under-age sporting event taking place at the sports ground. At all other times the local law will apply.

    If there is a local law banning smoking within 10 metres of children’s playground equipment that is applied in the same manner as the statewide ban, an inspector will be able to apply either the local law or the statewide ban, but not both.

  • How will compliance with the bans be achieved?

    There is strong community support for banning smoking in public places regularly frequented by children. This means that most people will voluntarily comply with the smoking bans and expect others to do so.

    Inspectors authorised under the Tobacco Act 1987 may also provide information about, and when necessary enforce, the bans and issue a fine. The first goal of the inspectors is to make sure that smokers understand the bans.

    Inspectors may not be available to respond to every complaint but, where circumstances allow, may attend in response.

  • How will people know about the bans?

    The launch of the new smoking bans was accompanied by a broad-based education campaign, including media announcements and newspaper and radio advertising. Signs may also be displayed in smoke-free areas.

  • What penalties might apply?

    The maximum penalty for someone breaking this law is five penalty units, with an infringement penalty of one penalty unit. The current value of a penalty unit is listed on the Legislation and regulations page.

Contact details

Contact details

  • Tobacco Information Line

    Department of Health & Human Services

    For information about tobacco control in Victoria

    • Telephone Number:1300 136 775