Tobacco prevention

The Tobacco Act 1987 has changed to have stricter controls on tobacco display, advertising and sales, as well as the places where people can smoke.

How we help our community

Our Environmental Health Officers enforce the Tobacco Act 1987

This includes making sure enclosed workplaces such as local eateries, licensed premises, and gaming venues remain smoke-free. 

We also monitor children's playgrounds, skateparks and other outdoor areas such as entrances to indoor playcentres, public swimming pools, underage sporting venues, childcare centres, kindergartens, and schools. 

Officers also monitor, inspect and educate tobacco and e-cigarette retailers to ensure they are complying with the Act. 

Smoke-free outdoor dining

Under the Act, smoking is banned in outdoor dining areas. An outdoor dining area is:

  • An area at a hospitality or food venue used for eating food. This includes footpath dining areas, courtyards and beer gardens during times food is being eaten, or is available to be eaten.
  • All outdoor areas at food fairs. A food fair is an event where the main activity is the suppling food for people to eat at the event. 
  • Outdoor areas within 10 metres of a food stall or food vendor at organised events (other than a food fair).

To support smoke-free outdoor dining, outdoor drinking areas where smoking is permitted under certain conditions must be separated from outdoor dining areas (including those at neighbouring premises) by either: 

  • a 4-metre buffer zone, or 
  • a wall at least 2.1 metres high.

For more information and resources on smoke free outdoor dining please visit the Department of Health website.

Someone is smoking in a smoke-free area, what should I do?

Let the manager of the premises know or contact the Environmental Health team on 5320 5702 or to report the incident to us. 

After receiving a complaint, one of our officers will visit the venue to give education on the current tobacco laws. 

Tobacco and e-cigarette retailers

It is illegal for a retailer to sell tobacco products to a person aged under 18, or to display tobacco products or packaging anywhere on their premises. The tobacco retailer guide covers training programs, display, and signage conditions retailers need to follow to comply with the Act.

How are e-cigarettes regulated?

E-cigarettes are regulated in the same way as tobacco products. This means they cannot be used in areas where smoking is banned, cannot be displayed at retail outlets, and cannot be sold to people under 18 years of age. 

The sale of e-cigarette products containing nicotine is illegal in Victoria under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981. If you have any concerns about e-cigarettes with nicotine, contact the Police Assistance Line

More information about e-cigarettes is available on the Department of Health website.

Tobacco test purchasing program

Our officers regularly visit tobacco and e-cigarette retailers in the City of Ballarat to enforce the Act and identify offences committed under the Act, including the sale of cigarettes to minors. 

If our officers find that a retailer is not complying with the Act, they may issue a penalty such as a warning or infringement, or they may prosecute the business.


Under the Tobacco Act 1987, the sale, advertisement and use of shisha tobacco that contains any amount of tobacco is treated the same as other tobacco products, such as cigarettes and cigars.

Please note that fruit or herbal-based products that do not contain tobacco are not subject to these laws.

More information on the sale, advertising and use of shisha tobacco can be found on the Department of Health website.

Resources for businesses

You can order factsheets, guides and tobacco signage from the Department of Health website

You can also contact our Environmental Health team on 5320 5702 or for more information or help with resources.