22 January 2015

From 6 July 2015, all commercial outdoor dining areas in NSW, including hotels, clubs, restaurants and cafes will be smoke free, under the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000, NSW advised today.

Staff and patrons of hotels, clubs, restaurants and cafes will be able to work and dine outdoors without being exposed to harmful second-hand tobacco smoke.

Since the beginning of 2013, smoking has been banned in a number of outdoor public places including all NSW public transport stops and stations, within 10m of children’s playgrounds, at spectator areas of sporting grounds, at public swimming pools and within 4m of a pedestrian entrance to or exit from a public building, under the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000.

NSW Health Director of the Centre for Population Health, Dr Jo Mitchell, said the ban on smoking in commercial outdoor dining areas is the next step in the NSW Government’s efforts to protect the public from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.

“There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. Research has shown individuals in typical public outdoor dining areas may be exposed to high levels of second-hand smoke,” Dr Mitchell said.

“Creating smoke-free outdoor areas reduces exposure to second-hand smoke and can support those who have quit and are trying to quit. It also makes smoking less visible to children and young people.”

Under the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000, smoking will be banned in seated outdoor dining areas while food is being served, with NSW Health Authorised Inspectors able to issue on the spot fines of $300 for individuals and penalties of up to $5500 for occupiers who ignore the ban.

Dr Mitchell said the legislation applies to all ignited smoking products, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes and water-pipes.

“There is strong public support for making outdoor dining areas smoke-free and a number of businesses have already voluntarily banned smoking in their outdoor dining areas, with positive results,” she said.

“A 2013 survey showed that 75 per cent of respondents supported banning smoking in all outdoor areas of hotels, restaurants and cafes, so it’s not surprising to hear that many restaurants and cafes that have already gone smoke-free and have found strong support from the community and particularly families with young children.”

Case study: Manly Council has had a smoke-free policy in place for its alfresco dining areas since 2004. Manly Council Special Projects Manager, Jo Bramma, said the Council had reported an increased demand for outdoor dining spaces and the numbers of chairs and tables placed outside had increased markedly since the smoke free policy came in.

NSW Health is working closely with local businesses to help them get ready for smoke-free outdoor dining. A public notice campaign about smoke-free outdoor dining will start in May.

For further information regarding NSW Health smoke-free legislation, including smoke-free outdoor dining, please call the Tobacco Information Line on 1800 357 412 or visit NSW smoke-free laws​.

For information on how to quit smoking, visit iCanQuit or ring the Quitline on 13 78 48.