Smoke-free Outdoor Eating and Drinking Areas

All outdoor eating and drinking areas across the ACT became smoke-free on 9 December 2010 under the Smoke-Free Public Places Act 2003 (the Act).

An outdoor eating and drinking area is a public place where tables and chairs are provided for customers to consume food purchased from an on-site service such as a restaurant, café, food van or take-away store.

All liquor licensed outdoor areas at venues across Canberra are classified as outdoor eating and drinking areas under the Act, meaning they are also smoke-free. Certain liquor licensed venues such as pubs, clubs, taverns and bars may, however, choose to establish outdoor smoking areas for their patrons.

These areas, called Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas (DOSAs), are designed to allow people who wish to smoke to take their drink outside while they have a cigarette before returning to their friends in non-smoking areas. DOSAs are subject to stringent rules such as no food or drink service and no eating.

Smoking is not banned on footpaths and other outdoor public spaces adjacent to outdoor eating and drinking areas. If smoke from adjacent public spaces drifts into an outdoor eating and drinking area, patrons may wish to ask the proprietor of the establishment to request, as a courtesy, that the smokers move further away. However, there is no legal requirement that smokers comply with the request.

The ACT currently has one of the lowest smoking rates in Australia. Education and awareness about the harm of environmental tobacco smoke continues to grow within the community.

Further information on smoke-free areas including frequently asked questions can be found below or at www.ors.act.gov.au

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For more information on smoke-free laws and products to assist you or your business, visit our Tobacco Control and Smoke-free Environments page.