Department of Health

Building entrances - smoke-free FAQs

Key messages

  • Smoking is prohibited within four metres of the entrance to all children’s indoor play centres, public hospitals and community health centres, and certain Victorian Government buildings.
  • The ban does not apply to emergency exits that are locked to entry, entrances to private hospitals, or entrances to Commonwealth Government or local government buildings.
  • Inspectors authorised under the Tobacco Act may provide information about, and when necessary enforce, the smoking ban.

Under an amendment to Victoria’s anti-smoking laws, smoking is now prohibited within four metres of the entrance to many public buildings across the state.

The ban covers the entrances to all children’s indoor play centres, public hospitals and health centres, childcare centres, kindergartens and schools, and many State Government buildings – including Parliament, Victorian law courts, and police stations.

Smoke-free building entrances - FAQs

  • The smoking bans aim to:

    • protect the community from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke
    • further ‘de-normalise’ smoking in the community - the less people see smoking in public places, the less they will tend to think that it is acceptable rather than harmful
    • support people who have quit or are trying to quit smoking.
  • Smoking is banned:

    • within four metres of the entrance to all children’s indoor play centres
    • within four metres of the entrance to public hospitals and registered community health centres
    • within four metres of the entrance to certain Victorian Government buildings.
  • The ban applies at and within four metres of the entrance to a children’s indoor play centre.

    Children’s indoor play centres are businesses that make the majority of their income by providing indoor play equipment for use by children under 12 years old, and their parents and carers. A children’s play centre may charge parents an entrance fee to allow their children to access the play equipment for a set period of time, or to host a child’s birthday party.

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

    Entrance of children’s play centre

  • The ban applies at and within four metres of the entrance to a public hospital or a registered community health centre.

    The following diagram shows an example of where the smoking ban applies at a hospital.

    Entrance of hospital

  • The ban applies at and within four metres of the entrance to a Victorian Government building occupied either wholly or in part by:

    • Parliament (but not electorate offices)
    • Victorian courts - Supreme Court, County Court, magistrate’s court, Children’s Court, Coroners Court
    • public service bodies - Victorian Government departments, Victorian Public Sector Commission, administrative offices
    • special bodies.

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

    Entrance of Victorian Government building

  • The smoking bans do not apply to:

    • an emergency exit that is locked to entry
    • a person walking through the smoke-free area
    • a person in a motor vehicle who is driving or being driven through the smoke-free area
    • a person in an area that is separated from the smoke-free area by a road
    • a person in an outdoor drinking area located within the smoke-free area
    • a person at a residential premises (in privately owned homes or land)
    • businesses that provide indoor children’s play equipment incidental to their core business
    • businesses that provide sporting and recreational activities to teenagers and adults
    • entrances to a private hospital, unless the entrance also provides access to a public hospital
    • entrances to Commonwealth Government buildings, such as Centrelink or Medicare offices (unless the building is part-occupied by a public service body or special body)
    • entrances to local government buildings, such as municipal libraries.
  • There is strong community support for banning smoking in public places. This means most people will voluntarily comply with the smoking ban and expect others to do so.

    Inspectors authorised under the Tobacco Act 1987 may provide information about, and when necessary enforce, the ban. The first priority of the inspector is to make sure smokers understand the ban.

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

  • Signs are displayed in smoke-free areas.

  • 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.

Reviewed 23 February 2018

Health.vic

Contact details

Postal Address: Tobacco Control Section, Department of Health & Human Services, GPO Box 4057, Melbourne, VIC 3001

Tobacco Control Section

Contact details

For information about tobacco control in Victoria

Tobacco Information Line Department of Health & Human Services

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