Department of Health

Key messages

  • Smoking and the use of e-cigarettes (vaping) 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 and vape-free policies at sports venues.

By law, smoking and vaping 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 drinking areas located within 10 metres of an outdoor sporting venue during an organised under-age sporting event or training session.

Sporting venues creating their own policy

If a sports venue has its own smoking and vaping 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 and vape-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 and vape-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 and vape-free'.

To view these resources and the 'guide to going smoke-free' visit the Quit Victoria, Sporting GroupsExternal Link page.

These policies would be the responsibility of sporting clubs and venues to enforce.

Signage and resources

The operators of under-18s sporting events can order or download signage, posters, brochures and palm cards from the Resources and factsheets page.

'No smoking' signs are available to order free of charge through the online order form on the Resources and factsheets page. Electronic versions of 'No smoking or vaping' signs can also be downloaded from this page.

The following diagrams provide examples of where the ban applies.

No smoking or vaping 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 and vaping ban would apply at or within 10 metres of ovals B, C and D.

No smoking or vaping 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 and vaping ban would apply at or within 10 metres of the netball courts and the accompanying spectator seating area.

No smoking or vaping area at cricket oval

No-smoking area at an underage sporting event

No smoking or vaping area at soccer ground

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

    This ban creates a smoke-free and vape-free environment where families can enjoy themselves without being exposed to harmful second-hand tobacco smoke and the aerosol from e-cigarettes. 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 and vaping as socially acceptable when they regularly see people smoking and vaping in different settings. Banning smoking and vaping in areas frequented by children and young people will help to ‘de-normalise’ the behaviour and discourage them from taking up smoking and vaping.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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' or 'No smoking or vaping' 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 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 and e-cigarette users understand the ban.

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

    Sporting venue staff, operators and volunteers will not be expected to enforce the ban and are not empowered to do so.

  • The maximum penalty for someone breaking this law is five penalty units, with an infringement penalty of one penalty unit. The value of a penalty unit is indexed annually. The current value of a penalty unit is listed on the Department of Treasury and Finance, Indexation of fees and penalty unitsExternal Link page.

Reviewed 21 February 2024


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Tobacco and e-cigarettes team 

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