- From 1 August 2017, smoking and vaping 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.
Smoking in outdoor drinking areas is banned when:
- an area has a roof in place, and
- the total actual area of wall surfaces exceeds 75 per cent of the total notional wall area.
Outdoor drinking areas include the following places if predominantly used for the consumption of drinks:
- a balcony or veranda
- a courtyard
- a rooftop
- a marquee
- a street or footpath
- any similar outdoor area.
Drinks can include both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks such as coffee.
New smoking restrictions in outdoor drinking areas
From 1 August 2017, changes to the Tobacco Act 1987 mean that smoking is banned in all commercial outdoor dining areas in Victoria.
The introduction of smoke-free outdoor dining means there are two types of outdoor areas for dining and drinking activities.
An outdoor area can be either:
- an outdoor dining area, or
- an outdoor drinking area.
Outdoor drinking areas within 4 metres of outdoor dining areas
To support smoke-free outdoor dining, from 1 August 2017 smoking is banned in an outdoor drinking area if any part of that area is within 4 metres of an outdoor drinking area, unless separated by a wall of at least 2.1 metres high.
This means that if any part of an outdoor drinking area is within 4 metres of an outdoor dining area at the same or neighbouring venue, the business owner or manager of an outdoor drinking area will need to:
- ensure the outdoor drinking area is smoke-free, or
- separate the two areas by:
- a 4-metre buffer zone, or
- a wall of at least 2.1 metres high.
A neighbouring venue is a different venue that is located immediately next to your venue.
Snacks can be eaten in outdoor drinking areas
Customers can eat only snacks in outdoor drinking areas.
A snack is a pre-packaged shelf-stable food that:
- is sealed in the container or package in which the manufacturer intended it to be sold, and
- does not require any preparation prior to serving.
Shelf-stable food means food that can be stored safely for long periods (months) at room temperature.
Snacks also include uncut and unpeeled fruit.
Examples of snacks include pre-packaged potato crisps, nuts and chocolate bars. Pre-packaged sandwiches and hot chips are not snacks.
Resources and downloads
The following resources explain the new laws and how to comply:
Reviewed 01 December 2022