Tobacco act compliance

1. Adopted Smoke Free Environment Policy

On 26 November 2019 Council adopted the draft Smoke Free Environment Policy. It sets out Council’s objectives and actions with regard to smoke free areas and gives Council and the community a clear process to establish designated smoke free areas. The Policy includes a staged approach to implementation, with each stage involving community and stakeholder consultation.

Evidence from outdoor smoking bans in other jurisdictions supports the use of a multi-faceted approach to reducing smoking in public areas. Strong community support, signage, a comprehensive communication strategy, and allowing adequate lead-in time prior to implementation are all crucial to the effective implementation of smoke free areas on the Mornington Peninsula.

Current legislation under the Tobacco Act provides several loopholes and is not fully effective in minimising the health and environmental impacts of smoking in public areas. Inconsistencies in the smoking regulations for beaches and outdoor dining areas are contributing to second hand smoke exposure and an increase in cigarette butt litter on the Mornington Peninsula.

The impact of smoking in public areas will be addressed through the adopted Policy, supported by an amendment to the Shire’s General Purposes Local Law to declare smoke free areas as there are clear gaps and inconsistencies in the Tobacco Act.

An amendment to the Shire's General Purposes Local Law was also endorsed by Council on 26 November 2019. It has been developed to align with the adopted Smoke Free Environment Policy.

The Local Law amendment was exhibited for comment in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act, and the public consultation period ended on 31 October 2019. The community could make submissions under S.223 of the Act that would then be considered by Council. No such submissions were received. A Community Impact Statement (required for the Local Law amendment) was prepared to assist in the development and adoption of the Local Law amendment.

The Community Impact Statement outlines the need for and benefits of a Local Law amendment to allow Council to declare smoke free areas. The Statement can be accessed below:

Download: Smoke Free Local Law Community Impact Statement(PDF, 194KB)

The adopted Policy, Local Law Amendment and Community Survey can be accessed here:

Download: Smoke Free Environment Policy Adopted November 2019(PDF, 303KB) 
Download: General Purposes Local Law Smoke Free Areas Amendment November 2019(PDF, 131KB) 
Download: Community Survey Summary(PDF, 109KB)

2. Smoke Free Dining

Smoke Free dining legislation has been in place in Victoria since July 2001. This legislation requires that all indoor dining areas in restaurants, cafes, hotels and clubs are smoke-free.

There is a strong community support for smoke-free outdoor dining. Smoke-free outdoor dining will:

  • protect the community from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke
  • de-normalise smoking behaviours, which is particularly important for discouraging children from taking up smoking
  • support people who have recently quit smoking or who are trying to quit smoking by removing smoking visual cues and triggers
  • improve Victorians' outdoor dining experience.

From 1 August 2017, the Victorian Government has banned smoking as follows:

  • in outdoor areas at hospitality and food venues used for eating food. This includes footpath dining areas, courtyards and beer gardens during times food is being eaten, or is available to be eaten
  • in all outdoor areas at food fairs. A food fair is an event where the principal activity is the supply of food for consumption at the event
  • within 10 metres of a food stall or food vendor at organised outdoor event (other than a food fair).

To complement smoke-free outdoor dining, smoking is banned in an outdoor drinking area if any part of that area is within 4 metres of an outdoor dining area, unless separated by a wall of at least 2.1 metres high. This means the two areas can be separated by either:

  • a 4 metre buffer zone; or
  • a wall of at least 2.1 metres high.

If the separation requirement is not met, smoking is banned in an outdoor drinking area. This law applies to the same venue as well as to neighbouring venues.

The Shire is committed to working with hotels, restaurants, cafés and other affected businesses to ensure a smooth transition to smoke-free dining.

Further information:

Visit the State Government website pages on: smoke free outdoor dining and Tobacco Law Reforms.

3. Sales of Tobacco

To assist in the minimising the number of people taking up smoking, laws have been introduced to limit the size and number of tobacco displays and to eliminate tobacco advertisements in retail outlets.

Tobacco retailers are required to display a prescribed ‘Health Warning’ sign and a prescribed prohibition of the sale of tobacco to under 18’s sign. Should a tobacco retailer choose to display a tobacco price board it must be accompanied by a prescribed ‘Graphic Health Warning’ sign. These signs can be obtained from the Shire’s Environmental Health Team.  

4. Tobacco Sales to Minors

It is an offence under the Tobacco Act 1987 to supply tobacco to a person under the age of 18 years. Retailers are advised to ask customers for proof of identity if they appear to be at or below the age of 25 years. Verification of a person’s age must be done through an evidence of age document such as a passport, driver’s licence or proof of age card.

Tobacco retailers are required to display a prescribed ‘Health Warning’ sign and a prescribed prohibition of the sale of tobacco to under 18’s sign. Should a tobacco retailer choose to display a tobacco price board it must be accompanied by a prescribed ‘Graphic Health Warning’ sign. These signs can be obtained from the Shire’s Environmental Health Team.

The Shire conducts regular test purchasing and tobacco inspections at tobacco retailers to assess compliance with Tobacco Act 1987 requirements. 

5. Smoking in Shopping Centres

Shopping centres throughout Victoria are legally required to be smoke-free. Shopping centre management must also provide the appropriate signs to ensure that patrons are aware of the legislation and must take reasonable action if a person is found smoking in a shopping centre.

6. Smoking in Gaming and Licensed Venues

In addition to smoke-free dining laws, laws have been put in place to prohibit smoking in gaming and licensed venues across Victoria

7. Smoke Free Public Areas

In April 2015 Victoria’s anti-smoking laws were expanded. These smoke-free areas include:

  • within 4 metres of the entrances to indoor children’s play centres, public hospitals and registered community health centres, and certain Victorian Government buildings including but not limited to including Parliament, law courts and police stations.
  • the grounds of, and entrances to, childcare centres, kindergartens, preschools and primary and secondary schools
  • within 10 metres of outdoor recreational areas where children play, including playground equipment, skate parks and sporting venues during under-age sporting events
  • outdoor areas of public swimming pools
  • patrolled beaches
  • enclosed workplaces
  • train stations, tram-stop platforms and tram and bus shelters
  • under-age music or dance events.

Please contact the Shire’s Environmental Health Team on: 5950 1050.