Smoke-free environments

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Smoke free legislation protects our community from the known and potential harms associated with smoking products, including tobacco and electronic cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes include e-cigars, e-pipes, vape pens, hookah pens, and e-hookahs. They are now regulated under the same conditions as tobacco.

Smoking tobacco or electronic cigarettes is banned in various public places across the ACT, including:

  • public transport waiting areas
  • outdoor eating and drinking areas
  • shopping centres
  • restaurants

Smoke-Free Public Transport Waiting Areas

Managing Smoke Drift in Multi-Unit Developments

Smoke drift in multi-unit developments can be a complex issue when considering the both the personal liberties of smokers and the public health rights of other residents. People living in multi-unit settings share common space and infrastructure and as a consequence, rules apply that seek to balance the interests of all residents.

Managing Smoke Drift in Multi-Unit Developments Fact Sheet (PDF)

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 Tobacco licensing and smoking in public places​ (Access Canberra)


We have conducted a number of smoke-free consultations with the community. You can view the outcomes below:

Please contact us on 02 5124 9700 or email for more information.

Electronic cigarettes: Safety, restrictions and information for retailers

Smoke free legislation

Page last updated on: 13 May 2021