Tobacco laws for artistic performances

Under Section 46(1) of the Tobacco Products Regulation Act 1997 smoking is banned in enclosed public places, workplaces or shared areas. This includes enclosed performance venues and enclosed film sets. 

Smoking during an artistic performance in an enclosed area is prohibited unless an exemption is granted. The Minister (or delegate) may, by notice in writing exempt a person or class of persons, from this provision of the Act.

This legislation is designed to protect people from exposure to second hand smoke. For more information on the effects of smoking see the Risks of smoking page.

Note that, from 31 March 2019, changes to the Tobacco Products Regulation Act 1997 will commence, including:

  • new laws for electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) products;
  • increases in penalties and expiation fees;
  • a definition of ‘shisha’ tobacco; and
  • other minor administrative changes to improve the function of the Act.

 The name of the Act will also change on 31 March 2019, from the Tobacco Products Regulation Act 1997 to the Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Act 1997.

For further information, see also New e-cigarette laws and other administrative changes to tobacco laws in South Australia . The new laws are detailed in the Tobacco Products Regulation (E-Cigarettes and Review) Amendment Act 2018 and the Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Regulations 2019.


A place or area is enclosed if it is fully enclosed or is at least partially covered by a ceiling and has walls such that the total area of the ceiling and wall surfaces exceeds 70% of the total notional ceiling and wall area.

Tobacco products are defined as including any product that does not contain tobacco but is designed for smoking.

Under the Act smoke means smoke, hold, or otherwise have control over, an ignited tobacco product.

From 31 March 2019, it is also an offence to use an e-cigarette in a smoke-free area.

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Application considerations

Please consider if smoking is an essential element to the performance. Applicants will be asked to explain why they consider smoking to be essential and provide details of alternatives to smoking that have been considered and why these are not regarded as satisfactory. The intention of the legislation is to provide protection from exposure to second hand smoke, the Act does not prevent the viewing of tobacco products or the portrayal of smoking (such as with an unlit cigarette).

Contractual obligations to present a performance as it was written may not be considered as sufficient reason to grant an exemption, as these arrangements cannot compel producers to contravene a law.

Applicants will also be asked to provide details of how the audience will be informed that smoking will be occurring during the performance, for example a warning will be included in advertising material and notices in foyer.

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Applying for an exemption

Applications for exemption are required to be submitted at least 8 weeks prior to the date of the performance.

Applications received less than eight weeks prior to the requested exemption period may be rejected due to insufficient time available to process the application.

All applicants are notified of the outcome of their application by letter or email.

To apply, complete the application for an exemption form (DOC 199KB) and send to Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia by:


Tobacco Control Unit
Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia
75 Magill Road, Stepney SA 5069

Fax: (08) 7425 5015


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Herbal cigarettes

An exemption is required to smoke herbal cigarettes in an enclosed area. Herbal cigarettes are defined under the Act as a tobacco product. If an exemption is granted, it will be a condition of the exemption that only herbal cigarette products are smoked.

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From 31 March 2019, an exemption is also required to use an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) in an enclosed area.

Unlit tobacco products

It is not necessary to apply for an exemption if the tobacco product is not ignited, as smoking is not occurring.

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The maximum fine for employers or business operators is $1,250 ($2,500 from 31 March 2019). For a person smoking, in an enclosed public place or workplace the maximum penalty is $200 ($750 from 31 March 2019). On-the-spot fines can also be issued.

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Further information

For further information on the smoking laws for enclosed areas, contact the Tobacco Control Unit, Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia on (08) 7425 5000.

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