Tobacco laws for enclosed areas

Smoking is not permitted in outdoor areas (such as verandas or courtyards) if the area is more than 70% enclosed. This applies to restaurants, cafes, car parks and other workplaces. This also applies to the use of e-cigarettes in an enclosed area.

What is meant by enclosed

An area is enclosed if it is fully or partially enclosed by a ceiling/roof and walls such that the combined area of the ceiling (includes plastic blinds, shade sails and umbrellas) and wall surface exceeds 70% of the total ceiling/wall area.

An area without a ceiling/roof is not considered enclosed.

Determining if the space is enclosed or unenclosed

To be unenclosed, at least 30% of the area must be open and allow the free flow of air. To work out whether an area is enclosed, you need to compare the Total Open Area with the Total Notional Surface Area.

For examples see the Important Information for all licensed premises (PDF 1131KB).


As layouts in each establishment are different you might wish to seek advice from an architect when calculating the area of your space.

State Government Environmental Health Officers can provide advice on how to assess if an outdoor structure is enclosed or unenclosed. Businesses should be aware that the Officer's opinions may not be the final assessment of the Government or a court of law and businesses are encouraged to seek their own independent advice if they are unsure if an existing or proposed structure complies with the legislation.

Blinds or other structures

Blinds or other moveable or openable structures used to weatherproof outdoor areas may be considered to enclose an area depending on their use. Where blinds or other structures are open, smoking is permitted if their opening results in the area being less than 70% enclosed. Closed blinds or other structures are considered the same as walls and where they enclose more than 70% of the area, smoking is not permitted.

Balconies and alfresco areas

If an area has awnings or only small openings in the wall so that less than 30% of the area is open, then it will be considered to be enclosed. Rolling up the awnings may make the area unenclosed (at least 30% of the area being open). Smoking will be permitted at these times.

Implementing the smoking laws

There are a number of things you can do to ensure your restaurant or cafe complies:

  • Be certain of the dimensions of your area and how blinds etc. can be adjusted to meet the criteria of not enclosed.
  • Communicate to staff, customers and other visitors about the laws.
  • Remove ashtrays from tables if smoking is not allowed.
  • Use signage to indicate if smoking is not allowed.


Both employer and the person smoking can be fined. The maximum fines are:

  • employer - $2500
  • person smoking - $750

Further information

For further information on the tobacco laws, e-mail: