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Buying cigarettes

If you are under 18 it is against the law for anyone to sell cigarettes to you.  This includes herbs and other things that are smoked, even if they do not contain tobacco.  Anyone who sells cigarettes to someone under 18 can be heavily fined.

It is also against the law for someone over 18 to buy cigarettes for you.  Anyone who does can be fined.

Do I have to show ID?

If you’re buying cigarettes and you look like you might be under 18, the staff can ask you to provide Valid ID. Valid ID includes:

  • a current drivers’ license; or
  • a valid proof of age card (including NSW Photo cards); or
  • a current passport.

Most staff will always ask you to provide ID if you look younger than 25. You cannot be forced to show ID by staff, but if you don’t, they probably won’t sell you cigarettes.

It is against the law to use a fake ID to buy cigarettes. You can be fined for doing so, and the police may confiscate the ID.  For more information see our Fake ID page.

Can police confiscate my cigarettes if I am under 18?

If you are in a public place, the police can confiscate your cigarettes, or other smoking products (even if they don’t contain tobacco) if they think you are under 18.  You will probably be asked for ID first. Most places other than someone’s house are public places.  Anything confiscated from you will not be returned.

Where can I smoke?

In New South Wales, it’s against the law to smoke in a smoke-free area.  All enclosed public spaces are smoke-free areas.  Enclosed public places are places that are open to the public, have a roof, and are mostly surrounded by walls (even if there are doors or open passageways).  

Some examples of places that are usually enclosed public places are:

  • Shopping centres;
  • Restaurants, cafes and dining areas;
  • Pubs, clubs and bars (except designated smoking areas);
  • Schools, colleges and universities;
  • Community centres, halls and churches;
  • Theatres, libraries and galleries;
  • Public transport (buses, trains, trams, aeroplanes, taxis, ferries);
  • Gyms and sporting facilities;
  • Hospitals.

Certain types of outdoor public places are also smoke-free areas. These include:

  • Places near outdoor children’s play equipment
  • Swimming pool complexes
  • Areas used for watching an organised sporting event (e.g.. a sports ground)
  • Platforms at train or light rail stations
  • Ferry wharves
  • Bus stops
  • Taxi ranks
  • Near the entrance/exit of a building for pedestrians  
  • In or near outdoor restaurants, cafes or dining areas.

If you are caught smoking in any of the above places, unless you were unaware it was a smoke-free area and there was no simple way of knowing  it was a smoke-free area, you may:

  • be fined $300 on the spot by the police
  • be given a warning; or
  • be given a formal caution; or
  • choose to have the matter decided by a court (which may fine you up to $550 if convicted).

Can I smoke in a car?

You cannot smoke in a car if there is someone younger than 16 years old in the car.  If you are driving a car with someone younger than 16 inside, and anyone smokes in the car, you are also breaking the law.

If you are caught doing either, you can:

  • be given a warning; or
  • be given a formal caution; or
  • be fined $250 on the spot by the police; or
  • choose to have the matter decided by a court (which may fine you up to $1,100 if convicted).

Additional information

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