Smoke-free Environments Amendment Act 2003

Changes to smokefree law as a result of the Smoke-free Environments Amendment Act 2003.


From 10 December 2004 smokefree restrictions were expanded so that all indoor workplaces became 100 percent smokefree, including offices, warehouses, factories, ‘smoko’ rooms, taxis, internal areas of trains and ships, prisons and travel premises such as terminals and passenger lounges.

Limited exceptions apply for some work vehicles and home-like environments such as individual prison cells, rest homes, hospitals, hotel rooms and residential care facilities.

Hospitality venues

From 10 December 2004 hospitality venues (bars, clubs, restaurants, cafés, casinos and gaming machine venues) were required to become 100 percent smokefree indoors (if they were workplaces, served alcohol or had a gambling venue licence).

Schools and early childhood centres

From 1 January 2004 schools and early childhood centres were required to be 100 percent smokefree, both indoors and outdoors, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Other early childhood centres that are on non-exclusive premises, such as creches on university grounds or playgroups using a church hall, are required to be smokefree when and where young children are present.


Volunteers are also protected from second-hand smoke exposure in indoor workplaces.

Under-18 sale and supply ban

It is an offence to sell or supply, in a public place, tobacco products, toy cigarettes or herbal smoking products to people under 18 years; retailers have a defence to under-age selling if they can prove they saw an evidence of age document (with photo ID) showing the buyer was at least 18 years old; and herbal smoking product retailers need signs informing the public that the under-18 sale of herbal smoking products is banned.

Repeat offenders of under-18 sale offences may be ordered by the courts not to sell any tobacco products for up to three months.

Vending machines

From 10 December 2004 vending machines became accessible only to staff of the premises, for example, by remote control (to restrict under-18 access to smoking products).

Consumer information/pictorial health warnings

Future regulations may impose stronger requirements for consumer information and warnings on the packages of smoking products.

This could include pictorial warnings on tobacco products showing their health effects, and improved information for smokers about the contents and health effects of tobacco products.

Display restrictions

From 10 December 2004 the retail display of tobacco products at each point of sale was limited to 100 packages and 40 cartons (unless the retailer is a specialist tobacconist), and limited to no more than two per brand display (within existing maximum size dimensions).

Tobacco products cannot be displayed on counter tops and should be at least one metre away from products that are marketed primarily for children, including all confectionery.

Point-of-sale warnings

From 10 December 2004 a prominent 'smoking kills' sign was required at each point of sale.

Co-packaging and discounts

From 10 December 2004 tobacco products could no longer be packaged with other products, such as lighters or radios, and from 10 December 2003 there was a technical clarification to the reduced charge/normal trade discount provision.

Manufacturer reports and returns

From February 2004 future regulations may require testing and annual reports, not only of all additives or constituents in tobacco products by class, but also their respective brands and brand variants.

From this date the Director-General of Health must also make annual tobacco returns information publicly available on a website and elsewhere; and from 10 December 2004 may require further testing of constituents in tobacco products.

Offences and fines

There are employer or proprietor offences for failing to take all reasonably practicable steps to prevent someone from smoking in an internal area (a maximum of $400 for individual employers, and a maximum of $4,000 for bodies corporate). Employers or proprietors are not liable for someone smoking if they have taken all reasonably practicable steps to prevent it.

Individual smoking offences

The only individual smoking offence is for smoking on an aircraft.

Enforcement powers

Smokefree Officers gained limited powers to enter and inspect premises at a reasonable time, take photographs, inspect advertising or display material, and require some limited identifying information.

There is a fine for obstructing an enforcement officer exercising their powers or failing to provide the information required. The maximum fine is $1000.

Herbal cigarettes

The smokefree law extends the existing provisions to cover herbal smoking products as well as tobacco in areas such as under-18 sale and supply, vending machine restrictions and future health warnings.

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