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·         When can I buy cigarettes?

·         Do I have to show ID?

·         Can the police confiscate my cigarettes?

·         Where can I smoke?

·         Can I smoke when wearing my school uniform?

·         Can I smoke in a car?


When can I buy cigarettes?


It is against the law for anyone to sell cigarettes to you if you are under 18.  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 else to buy cigarettes for you.  Anyone who does can be fined.


Do I have to show ID?

You cannot be forced to show ID in a shop.  But if you don’t, the shop keeper probably won’t sell you cigarettes.  Valid ID includes:

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

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. Every enclosed public space is a smoke-free area.  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).  This includes places you have to pay to enter (like a theatre).

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 (eg. a sports ground)
  • Platforms at train or light rail stations
  • Ferry wharves
  • Light rail stops
  • Bus stops
  • Taxi ranks
  • Near the entrance/exit of a building for pedestrians 


If you are caught smoking in such a place, unless there was no simple way of knowing the place 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 when wearing my school uniform?

Some schools have rules about how you can behave when wearing school uniform. If your school has these kinds of rules, you may get in trouble for smoking in school uniform.  For more information, ask your school for information about its uniform and smoking policies.

It is up to the police whether to give you a warning or a formal caution, but you can always choose to go to court instead.


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

For information about cigarettes and your health see:


Alternatively, if you would like more detailed advice or have a specific problem, you can send us a Lawmail.

The content of this page was last updated on 11 November 2014