Department of Health

Tobacco reform legislation and regulations

Key messages

  • The Tobacco Act has undergone a number of reforms to provide tougher controls on tobacco display, advertising and sales, as well as the places where smoking can occur.
  • Recent amendments provide for smoke-free areas at outdoor areas at hospitality and food venues when food is available; food fairs; and, within 10 metres of a food vendor at an organised event.
  • Additionally, e-cigarettes and shisha tobacco are regulated like other tobacco products.
  • There are penalties for those who break the laws governing the display, advertising and sales of tobacco and e-cigarette products, and the places where smoking is banned.

Since the Victorian Parliament passed the Tobacco Act 1987 there have been several reforms to the Act and its supporting regulations.

Legislative reforms

The reforms include:

  • a smoking ban in a motor vehicle if a person under the age of 18 years is present
  • a ban on the sale of tobacco products from temporary outlets
  • a power for the Minister for Health to ban the sale of certain tobacco products and packaging that appeal to young people
  • a ban on the display of tobacco products at point-of-sale with an exemption for certified ‘specialist tobacconists’
  • power for the Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services to request the names and addresses of persons supplied with tobacco in an electronic format
  • increases to the maximum infringement penalties for a number of offences, and specific provisions for higher ‘body corporate’ offences
  • a ban on the inclusion of tobacco product purchases in any rewards or shopper loyalty schemes that provide benefits to customers
  • a smoking ban at patrolled beaches
  • smoking bans at outdoor public children’s playground equipment, skate parks and sporting venues during organised under-age sporting events, as well as outdoor areas within public swimming pool complexes
  • smoking bans within the grounds of, and within four metres of entrances to, childcare centres, kindergartens, preschools and primary and secondary schools
  • a smoking ban within four metres of the entrances to children’s indoor play centres
  • a smoking ban within four metres of the entrances to public hospitals and registered community health centres
  • a smoking ban within four metres of entrances to certain Victorian Government buildings
  • a smoking ban in outdoor dining areas
  • the regulation of e-cigarette products in the same manner as tobacco products
  • the regulation of shisha tobacco in the same manner as other tobacco products
  • strengthening price board restrictions in retail outlets.

An amended copy of the Tobacco Act 1987 and the Tobacco Regulations 2017 are available on the Victorian legislation websiteExternal Link . Factsheets on recent amendments to the Tobacco Act are also available on the Resources and factsheets page.

Penalty units

The value of a penalty unit is indexed every financial year by the Victorian Treasurer.

Financial year Penalty unit value
2015–16 $151.67
2016–17 $155.46
2017-18 $158.57
2018-19 $161.19

Reviewed 01 June 2023


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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