Key messages

  • Smoking is banned within 10 metres of any outdoor sports venue during an under-age sporting event.
  • The ban complements and provides legislative support to existing smoke-free policies at sports venues.

By law, smoking is banned within 10 metres (about two car lengths) of any public outdoor sporting venue during an organised under-18s event.

The ban 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 located within 10 metres of an outdoor sporting venue during an organised under-age sporting event or training session.

The following diagrams provide examples of where the ban applies.

 

No smoking area at football ovals

No smoking area at football ovals

In the diagram above, an under-age sporting event is taking place on football ovals B, C and D, but not oval A. In this situation, the smoking ban would apply at or within 10 metres of ovals B, C and D.

 

No smoking area at netball courts

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

In the diagram above, 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 cricket oval

No-smoking area at an underage sporting event 

 

No smoking area at soccer ground

No smoking area at soccer ground

Smoke-free underage sporting events - FAQs

  • Why does the smoking ban exist?

    Under-age sporting events attract a wide variety of patrons, including families with children and young people.

    This ban creates a smoke-free environment where families can enjoy themselves without being exposed to harmful second-hand tobacco smoke. Second-hand smoke exposure is particularly dangerous for children and young people because they have smaller airways and less developed immune systems than adults.

    Children and young people are also impressionable and are more likely to view smoking as socially acceptable when they regularly see people smoking in different settings. Banning smoking in areas frequented by children and young people will help to ‘de-normalise’ smoking behaviour and discourage them from taking up smoking.

  • What is the definition of a sporting venue?

    Under this 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 actual under-age sporting event is taking place.

    Each sporting venue will be different. The examples above can help you to understand where the ban applies.

  • What is the definition of an 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 spectators and parents know when the ban applies?

    The smoking ban applies when an under-age sporting event is taking place. To help spectators and parents determine whether an under-age sporting event is taking place, they may consider whether:

    • children under 18 years old 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 because of 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.

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

  • Where does the ban not apply?

    The ban does not apply:

    • if no under-age sporting event is currently underway
    • to a person at a residential premises (in privately owned homes or land)
    • to a person in a motor vehicle that is being driven past the sporting venue
    • to a person in an area that is separated from the venue by a road.
  • How will people know about the smoking ban?

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

  • How will the ban be enforced?

    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 ban and expect others to do so.

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

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

  • Will staff at the sporting venue be expected to enforce the ban?

    No. Sporting venue staff, operators and volunteers will not be expected to enforce the ban and are not empowered to do so.

    Compliance with the ban is expected to occur through increased public awareness and changed community expectations.

    Consultation undertaken by the Department of Health & Human Services shows strong community support for banning smoking at public places regularly attended by children. These factors are likely to result in high levels of voluntary compliance with the smoking ban.

    Inspectors authorised under the Tobacco Act 1987 may provide information about, and when necessary enforce, the ban.

    Inspectors may not be available to respond to every complaint but, where circumstances allow, may attend in response. The primary goal of inspectors is to make sure smokers understand that smoking is banned within the outdoor areas of outdoor sporting venues during organised under-age sporting events.

    Sporting venue operators are not liable if smoking occurs in outdoor areas of their sporting venues during under-age sporting events. Smoking remains banned in enclosed areas of sporting venues under the enclosed workplace smoking provisions in the Tobacco Act 1987.

  • What if a sports venue already has a smoke-free policy?

    The bans are intended to complement and provide legislative support to any existing smoke-free policies at sports venues.

    If a sports venue has its own smoking ban in place, the statewide ban will act as a minimum standard, with any further requirements put in place by the sports venue applying in addition to the legislative ban.

    For example, if a sporting club has a smoke-free policy for all sporting events, both the club’s policy and the statewide ban will apply during children’s sporting events at the venue. Only the club’s policy will apply during other sporting events at the venue.

    The Victorian Government encourages all sporting clubs to consider how to make their venues smoke-free places for people to play sport and socialise.

    Quit Victoria has developed a series of useful resources to guide sports clubs and community sporting organisations wishing to ‘go smoke-free’.

  • What resources are available to promote the ban?

    The operators of under-18s sporting events can request posters, brochures and palm cards from the Department of Health & Human Services to help educate and inform their patrons of the smoking ban. These resources can be ordered or downloaded from the Resources and factsheets page.

  • 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