Smoke free regulations

The following information has been designed to assist the public and businesses with commercial outdoor dining areas to understand existing and new smoke-free laws. 

Smoke-Free Environment Act 2000

In recognition of the harmful effects of second hand smoke, such as heart disease, lung cancer and other lung diseases the Smoke-Free Environment Act 2000 referred to herein as ‘The Act’ aims to reduce public exposure to second hand smoke by establishing a range of smoke free public areas.  

Existing Smoke-Free Areas

The Smoke-Free Environment Act 2000 currently prohibits smoking in the following public areas:

  • Within 10 metres of children’s play equipment in outdoor public places

  • Public swimming pools

  • Spectator areas at sports grounds or other recreational areas used for organised sporting events

  • Public transport stops and platforms

  • Within four metres of a pedestrian access point to a public building.

Commercial Outdoor Dining Areas to be Smoke-Free from Monday, 6 July 2015

In addition to the above listed smoke free areas the Smoke-Free Environment Act 2000 also requires commercial outdoor dining areas of restaurants and cafes to be smoke free from Monday, 6 July 2015.

What products does it relate to?

The ban applies to any ignited tobacco product or non-tobacco smoking product including cigarettes, pipe, water pipe, or any other smoking device.

What is a commercial outdoor dining area?

A commercial outdoor dining area means an outdoor public place that is:

  • A seated dining area, being an area in which seating is provided and in which food that has been purchased and served on plates or packaged for immediate consumption is consumed or,

  • Within four metres of a seated dining area on premises that are licensed premises under the Liquor Act 2007 or the premises of a restaurant, or

  • Within 10 metres of a place at a food fair where food is sold or supplied for consumption at the event. 

Note: food does not include drink.

Does the Smoke Free Environment Act 2000 enable the creation of smoking areas?

Yes. However the area must:

  • Not be located within four metres of a seated dining area on the premises

  • Not be located within four metres of a pedestrian entry to or exit from a licensed premises or restaurant

  • Not be used as a seated dining area

  • Be provided with signage as per the requirements of The Act

  • Not be considered an ‘enclosed area’ as defined by The Act

  • Meet all other requirements of The Act.


NSW Health Inspectors can enforce the ban in commercial outdoor dining areas under the Smoke Free Environment Act 2000. The following penalties for non-compliance may apply:

  • Individuals may face an on the spot fines of $300

  • Business owners may face penalties of up to $5,500.

Information for Businesses

In preparation for Monday, 6 July 2015 please find below additional information and resources that may be of assistance.

  • Guide for Businesses 

  • Take the quiz to determine if smoke free laws affect your business

  • Signage must be displayed within commercial outdoor dining areas and designated smoking areas - in accordance with the Smoke-Free Environment Act 2000

  • Signage - free and compliant signage now available to order via the following webpage.

For further information please visit the NSW Health Smoke-Free webpages or call the Tobacco Information Line on 1800 357 412.