Smoking restrictions in enclosed public places

The Tobacco Products Control Regulations 2006 (external site) made under the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 (external site) prohibit smoking in all enclosed public places including those on licensed premises.

These regulations apply to all public premises, including:

  • shopping centres 
  • theatres and cinemas 
  • airports 
  • cafes and restaurants 
  • pubs, bars and nightclubs 
  • sporting clubs.  

The aim of Legislation is to reduce community exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS). The health effects of exposure to SHS are well documented and indisputable.

Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated that exposure to SHS causes or promote a number of illnesses and diseases, including lung cancer and heart disease.

What is an enclosed public place?

A public place is an enclosed public place if it has a ceiling or roof and is greater than 50 per cent enclosed by walls, or other vertical structures or coverings.

The surface area of walls, or other vertical structures or coverings located under a ceiling or roof as well as those located at or within 1 metre from the perimeter of a ceiling or roof are to be used to determine if a public place is greater than 50 per cent enclosed.

The surface areas of windows, doors and other closable openings must also be included when calculating the percentage of vertical surfaces surrounding a place, regardless of whether they are open or closed.

If a public place does not have a roof or ceiling then it is not an enclosed public place.

What are my responsibilities as an occupier of an enclosed public place?

An occupier in relation to an enclosed public place, means a person or business that has the management or control, or otherwise being in charge of that place. The occupier may be the owner, proprietor, manager or supervisor of an enclosed public place.

Display no smoking signs

Occupiers of liquor licensed premises (where alcohol may be sold without accompanying a meal) must display signs that comply with the requirements (outlined below) at all public entrances to an enclosed public place, in such numbers and positions so they are clearly visible to a person at the entrance to the place.

Enclosed public places that are subject to a restaurant liquor licence (where alcohol may only be sold when accompanying a meal) are not required to display signs, because smoking is not permitted anywhere on such premises

No smoking symbol

The signs must contain:

  • the phrase no smoking or smoking prohibited in letters that are at least 20 mm in height
  • the smoking prohibited symbol with a diameter of at least 70 mm
  • other words or symbols that indicate clearly that smoking is prohibited.

Stickers that comply with the above requirements are free and can be ordered online via the Department of Health Online Publication Ordering System (external site).

See the different types of signage available – No Smoking Signage (PDF 1.23MB).

Preventing the spread of smoke from outside an enclosed public place

Smoking is not allowed within 5 metres of a public entrance to an enclosed public place and within 10 metres of air conditioning intakes.

The No Smoking outside enclosed public places guide (PDF 1.25MB) demonstrates the current legislation requirements.

If an enclosed public place is not provided with adequate ventilation in accordance with the requirements of the Building Code of Australia 2006 (the BCA), occupiers must take reasonable steps to ensure that smoke from a tobacco product does not enter the enclosed public place.

Reasonable steps may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Close doors or windows.
  • Designating outdoor smoking areas away from entrances and openings to an enclosed public place
  • Restrict smoking around air intakes for ventilation equipment
  • Anything else which may assist in preventing the spread of smoke into an enclosed public place.

Educating employees

Occupiers of enclosed public places are strongly encouraged to ensure all employees are aware of the law and their obligations under the legislation.

What to do if someone smokes in an enclosed public place?

If someone is committing or commits an offence by smoking in an enclosed public place, the occupier of that place also commits an offence.

Occupiers should actively enforce the smoking ban as they would enforce any other standards or codes of conduct that they have for their premises (for example dress standards, antisocial behaviour, etc).

The legislation provides guidance on the steps an occupier or employee should follow if someone is known to be smoking in an enclosed public place.

Steps to enforce no smoking in an enclosed public place:&

  1. Inform the person concerned that he/she is committing an offence.
  2. Request that the person stop smoking in the enclosed public place and to extinguish, and properly dispose of, the tobacco product.
  3. If the person fails to comply with a request to stop smoking, request that the person leave the enclosed public place until the person has finished smoking the tobacco product.

Note: Undertaking the above steps may be used as a defence to a prosecution.

The Department recommends against placing ash trays, matches or any other thing that could facilitate smoking, on tables, counters etc, within any enclosed public place as it may encourage customers to smoke in these places.

Is smoking permitted in covered areas outside a building?

Areas that have a roof or ceiling and are enclosed or able to be enclosed to an extent where they would be considered an enclosed public place (that is greater than 50 per cent enclosed by walls or other vertical structures or coverings) will be treated the same as any other enclosed public place – this mean smoking is prohibited).

Is smoking permitted during private functions or in private guest rooms?

Yes. An enclosed public place used exclusively for private functions (for example weddings, birthday parties) to which attendance is by invitation only, is not considered a public place during the period of hire or use.

Private guest rooms of hotels and motels are also not considered to be public places, although other areas within the premises are required to comply with the legislation. These include:

  • corridors 
  • foyers 
  • lobbies 
  • public toilets etc. 

Public places include places to which the public or a section of the public such as members of a sporting club, whether on payment of money (for example membership fees) or due to their membership of a club or group, have access.

Therefore, functions held by clubs, associations or other similar groups, for their members, are not private functions. If these functions are held in enclosed public places, smoking is not permitted.

Note: The legislation does not prevent an occupier from designating private function rooms or private guest rooms as no smoking areas.

Enforcement and penalties

Enforcement of the legislation may be undertaken by environmental health officers in local government authorities, police officers and officers from the Department.

If you have any questions in relation to the enforcement of the smoking in enclosed public places legislation, contact your local government authority (external site) and speak with an environmental health officer.

An individual or business convicted of an offence under the legislation is liable to a maximum penalty of $2000. If the offence is a continuing offence, a daily penalty which is not more than $50 may apply.

Lodging a complaint

To lodge a complaint about a person or persons smoking in an enclosed public place, contact the local government authority in which the enclosed public place is located and speak with an environmental health officer.

More information

Tobacco Control Branch

Phone: 9222 4222
Fax: 9382 0770
Postal address:
PO Box 8172
Perth Business Centre 6849


Last reviewed: 06-10-2022
Produced by

Tobacco Control Branch