Smoke-free cars

Smoking is banned in cars when children are present. Section 48 of the Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Act 1997 states:

  1. A person must not smoke in a motor vehicle if a child is also present in the motor vehicle. Maximum Penalty $750. Expiation fee $105.
  2. In proceedings for an offence against this section an allegation in the complaint that a child was present in a motor vehicle at a specified time will be accepted as proved in the absence of proof to the contrary.
  3. In this section – child means a person under 16 years of age, motor vehicle has the same meaning as in the Motor Vehicles Act 1959

Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Act 1997

The Tobacco Products Regulation Act 1997 was renamed the Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Act 1997 as of 31 March 2019 and regulates e-cigarettes in the same manner as tobacco. Therefore, e-cigarette use is also banned in cars when children are present.

What is the definition of a motor vehicle?

A motor vehicle means a vehicle that is built to be propelled by a motor that forms part of the vehicle (Motor Vehicles Act 1959).

How dangerous is the passive smoking risk to children?

About 8% of new cases of asthma in children are attributable to passive smoking, and the risk of respiratory infections, middle ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome increases with exposure to passive smoking.

For more information on the effects of smoking, see the Risks of smoking page

Does the law apply only when someone is smoking in a moving vehicle?

The intention is to prevent children’s exposure to passive smoking and this can occur whether the vehicle is moving or stationary.

Does this law only apply to the driver?

Any person in the vehicle who is smoking while a child is in the vehicle will be committing an offence.

Further information

For further information on smoking laws, e-mail: