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Tobacco Laws and Tobacco Related Complaints

No Smoking

Knox City Council has a responsibility to educate the public and to enforce tobacco laws where breaches occur. This includes the sale of cigarettes and tobacco to minors (under 18), smoking in restaurants, cafes and other food premises and smoking in the workplace. There are also laws regarding correct signage that must be displayed where cigarettes and tobacco are sold and where tobacco products can be placed for sale.

The following information lists some of the new laws for retailers, workplaces and for individual smokers as well as the type of offences you can report to Council.

Information for Smokers

Changes to the Tobacco Act 1987 on 1 August 2017, mean that smoking will be banned in all outdoor dining areas throughout Victoria.

This includes outdoor dining areas:

  • at hospitality venues
  • at food fairs
  • within 10 metres of food vendors at organised events

Smoking will only be permitted in outdoor drinking areas that meet the following requirements:

  • no food other than snacks, such as pre-packaged nuts and potato chips, are consumed in the area
  • there is a 4 metre buffer zone or a barrier at least 2.1 metres high between the drinking area and any adjacent dining area
  • there is no roof or a minimum of 25% notional wall area open

Council has provided information to relevant premises within the municipality regarding these requirements.
Smoking is also banned in enclosed workplaces including restaurants, cafes, licensed premises and shopping centres. Smoking is also prohibited under covered areas of train platforms, bus and tram shelters and at underage 'music/dance' events.

A few examples of places where you can currently smoke are:

  • residential premises not used for business
  • a place of business occupied by the sole operator and which is not for the use of the public
  • a vehicle not carrying children under the age of 18 (enforced by Police)
  • personal sleeping or living areas of a premises providing accommodation to members of the public for a fee such as a rooming house

Penalties apply if you smoke in areas that are prohibited. For more information about the smoking laws you can call the Tobacco Information Line on 1300 136775, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website or contact Knox Council's Health Services Unit on 9298 8000.

Information for Retailers

Laws banning the display of tobacco products came into effect on 1 January 2011. Briefly these laws include:

  • Not displaying tobacco advertising
  • Health warning/stop smoking signs being displayed
  • 'No tobacco sales to under 18's' signs must be displayed in the premises
  • No signs advertising discount tobacco products are allowed
  • No cigarette packaging or cartons can be displayed
  • If a tobacco price board is displayed one of the prescribed graphic health warnings must also be displayed on or next to the price board

Certified Specialist Tobacconists are exempt from the ban on the display of tobacco products.

All tobacco retailers must ensure they do not sell tobacco products to persons under the age of 18. It is the responsibility of the seller to verify the age of a customer through sighting appropriate identification. Managers and proprietors must ensure that staff receive adequate training to ensure a tobacco sale to a minor does not occur.

For more information about your responsibilities if you sell tobacco products, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website or contact the Tobacco Information Line on 1300 136 775.

Knox Council's Health Services Unit can supply you with the Tobacco Retailer Guide and other material including the posters and stickers that are required to be displayed in your premises. If you would like us to send you a copy, please call our Health Services Unit on 9298 8000 or email

Information for Workplaces, Shopping Centres, Restaurants and Outdoor Areas

The tobacco laws affect all workplaces in Victoria. Everyone that works or visits a workplace is required to abide by the smoking ban in enclosed workplaces, including employers, employees, voluntary workers and customers

A ‘Workplace’ means any premises or area where one or more employees or self-employed persons (or both) work, whether or not they receive any payment for that work’. This includes premises such as brothels or areas such as enclosed car parks.

'Enclosed' means an area, room or premises that is or are substantially enclosed by a roof and walls, regardless of whether the roof or walls or any part of them are permanent, temporary, open or closed.

Tobacco smoking bans have been introduced to the following areas:

  • Council Playgrounds
  • Public Swimming Pools
  • Skate Parks, and;
  • Sporting facilities scheduled for junior sporting activities

Additionally, smoking is also banned within 4 meters of an entrance to the following areas:

  • Child Education or Care Centre
  • Schools
  • Children’s Indoor Play Centre, and;
  • Victorian Public Premises, for example, hospitals and some government buildings

For further information regarding the application of smoking bans within the above areas, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website, contact our Health Services Unit on 9298 8000 or contact the Tobacco Information Line on 1300 136 775.

For information about the Health and Safety laws that apply to workplaces you can visit the Worksafe website or call 9641 1444.

Tobacco Related Complaints

Council’s Health Compliance Unit investigates complaints received from the community in relation to the Tobacco Act 1987.

Examples of complaints investigated by Council include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The sale of cigarettes or tobacco products to minors (persons under 18)
  • Smoking in the workplace (see also Information for Workplaces above)
  • Smoking in an outdoor dining area
  • Failure to display appropriate signage, and;
  • Inappropriate placement of tobacco products at a tobacco retailing premises

If you wish to lodge a tobacco related complaint with Council or would like further information regarding the complaint investigation process, you may contact Council’s Health Services Unit on 9298 8000 or email

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