Tobacco laws for artistic performances

Under Section 46(1) of the Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Act 1997 smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes, 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. Exemptions are only provided when deemed absolutely necessary and when the production company have demonstrated all other options have been exhausted and the act of smoking in the performance remains essential. 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


Under the Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Act 1997, Section 4 - Interpretation:

smoke means—

  1. in relation to a tobacco product—smoke, hold or otherwise have control over, an ignited tobacco product; or
  2. in relation to an e-cigarette—inhale from, hold or otherwise have control over, an e-cigarette that is in use;

tobacco product means—

  1. cigarette; or
  2. a cigar; or
  3. cigarette or pipe tobacco; or
    1. shisha tobacco, or
  4. tobacco prepared for chewing or sucking; or
  5. snuff; or
  6. any other product, of a kind prescribed by regulation, that is comprised of or contains tobacco; or
  7. any product (other than an e-cigarette product) that does not contain tobacco but is designed for smoking, and includes any packet, carton, shipper or other device in which any of the above is contained;’

e-cigarette means -

  1. a device that is designed to generate or release an aerosol or vapour for inhalation by its user in a manner similar to the inhalation of smoke from an ignited tobacco product; or
  2. a device of a kind declared by the Minister by notice in the Gazette to be an e-cigarette, but does not include a device of a kind excluded from the ambit of this definition by the regulations;

Enclosed area

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 per cent of the total notional ceiling and wall area.

Exemption requirements for different types of products

Tobacco and e-cigarette products

An exemption is also required to use a tobacco or electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) product in an enclosed area.

Herbal cigarettes

An exemption is required to smoke herbal cigarettes in an enclosed area. Herbal cigarettes are defined under the Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Act 1997 as a tobacco product. If an exemption is granted, it may be a condition of the exemption that only herbal cigarette products are smoked.

Unlit tobacco products

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

Exemption application considerations

Please consider if smoking (including using an e-cigarette) is an essential element to the performance. The intention of the legislation is to provide protection from exposure to second-hand smoke. On the application form, applicants are asked to outline the strategies that have been considered to remove or reduce the act of smoking and quantity of smoke during the performance and rehearsals, and which of these strategies were or were not applied, and why.

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 be asked to provide a detailed breakdown of the time cast members will spend smoking throughout the entire performance and rehearsals. Additionally, applicants will 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 the foyer.

Applicants must confirm the application is not connected to a commercial relationship or interest associated with the sale or promotion of tobacco products, e-cigarette products (vaping) or other smoking products such as herbal cigarettes.

Applying for an exemption

Applications for exemption are required to be submitted at least 6 weeks prior to the date of the performance.

Applications received less than six 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



If someone smokes or vapes in a smoke-free area under the Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Act 1997, the maximum fine for employers or business operators is $2,500. For the person smoking, the maximum penalty is $750. On-the-spot fines can also be issued.

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.