Right: smoke break: it will soon be an offence for most workers to step outside the office or other workplace to light up a cigarette.
Smoking bans in Australia
Federal law bans smoking in all Australian Commonwealth government buildings, public transport, airports and international and domestic flights. Further bans are in place but are governed by individual states. Currently all Australian states and territories have banned smoking in enclosed public places, particularly workplaces and restaurants.
Australian Capital Territory
In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) a smoking ban has applied to all enclosed public places since December 2006. However, if the proportion of the public place that is "open" (open to the outdoors) is greater than 25% of the total surface area of the ceiling or roof (assuming that this is flat) and the walls and windows (whether fixed or able to be opened), then the premises will not be considered "substantially enclosed" and therefore, the smoking prohibition in the Act did not apply.
As of December 2010 all outdoor eating and drinking areas in the ACT were made smoke-free. Exceptions to this rule can be made but only under strict guidelines.
Designated Outdoor Smoking Area (DOSA) requirements include:
a) may not encompass more than 50% of the outdoor area,
b) must be separated from smoke-free areas by no less than 4 metres or a non-transparent fixed wall barrier at least 3 metres high.
c) In addition to this, staff are not allowed in the area to clean during the operating hours of business, unless it has been un-occupied for at least 30 minutes.
As a result of these requirements, the majority of venues did not obtain a DOSA permit as it was considered too complicated. The punishment for smoking in an outdoor area that is not a DOSA is an on-the-spot fine between $200 and $2,000 for the individual and $2,000 to $10,000 for the business.
New South Wales
A total 'enclosed space' ban was introduced in New South Wales on 1 July 2007.
In this state, a public place is considered substantially enclosed only if the total area of ceiling and wall surfaces are more than 75% of its total notional ceiling and wall area. Windows and doors may be counted as open space only if they are locked open to the outside for the duration of trading hours. 10% of the total ceiling and wall area must remain open to the elements at all times.
From 1 July 2009, smoking in a car with a child under the age of 16 is against the law. The Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008 creates a new offence of smoking in a car with a child under 16 years of age in the vehicle. A $250 on-the-spot fine applies to the driver and any passenger who breaks the law. This is enforced by NSW Police.
From 7 January 2013, smoking is banned at public (outdoor) playgrounds within 10 m of children's play equipment, in open areas of public swimming pools, at major sports grounds, within 4 m of any building open to the public and at public transport stops (including outdoor parts of railway stations, bus stops, light rail stops and taxi ranks).
A ban on smoking in all enclosed areas of restaurants, licensed clubs and pubs came into force in the Northern Territory on 2 January 2010.
Smoking is prohibited in all pubs, clubs, restaurants and workplaces in Queensland, as well as in commercial outdoor eating and drinking areas and in outdoor public places (e.g., patrolled beaches, children's playground equipment, major sport stadiums, and within 4 metres of non-residential building entrances).
Since 1 July 2006, premises holding a hotel, club or casino liquor licence can designate up to 50% of the outdoor liquor licensed area as a smoking and drinking area. In this area no food or drink can be served, no food can be consumed, no entertainment can be offered and there must be no gaming machines provided.
A 'buffer', which can be either a 2 metre wide area or a 2.1 metre high screen that is impervious to smoke, must be on the area's perimeter wherever it is adjacent to other parts of the outdoor area usually accessed by patrons. Premises that choose to have such an area must have a smoking management plan for the premises that complies with legislative requirements.
For all other liquor licensed premises, and non-liquor licensed premises, from 1 July 2006 there is no smoking at any outdoor eating or drinking place.
In May 2009 it was announced that smoking in cars where children under the age of 16 are present was banned and that the power to regulate smoking at pedestrian malls and public transport waiting points such as bus stops, taxi ranks and ferry wharves was transferred to local government.
A total enclosed public place smoking ban was introduced in South Australia on 1 November 2007. However, under the SA Tobacco Products Regulation Act 1997, a place or area is only 'enclosed' if it is fully enclosed or is at least partially covered by a ceiling and has walls such that the total area of the ceiling and wall surfaces exceeds 70 per cent of the total notional ceiling and wall area.
It is illegal to smoke in the car while children are in the car.
Tasmania was the first Australian state to introduce a total indoor smoking ban in January 2006. As of 1 January 2008, smoking in cars with passengers under the age of 18 is banned and will incur a $110 on the spot fine. In 2012, Tasmania moved to ban the purchase of tobacco by anyone born after the year 2000.
A total enclosed public place smoking ban was introduced in Victoria on 1 July 2007. However, smoking is permitted in non-enclosed dining or drinking areas if the area has a roof and walls that cover no more than 75% of the total notional wall area (i.e. if the combined wall and roof space is 25% open to the outdoors).
Smoking is also allowed in: balconies; verandas; courtyards; marquees; and footpaths. The sale of tobacco products to people under 18 carries a fine but there is no age limit to legally possess these products.
Western Australia was the second Australian state to ban smoking in all indoor areas of pubs, bars and clubs from July 2006. Smoking is permitted in alfresco and courtyard areas (outdoor eating areas) and the international room at the Burswood Casino. The Health Minister has regulated to allow footpath drinking without food to accommodate smokers.