It’s not something anyone should be proud of, but smoking is still a habit of 15% of Australians. So, many of them ask is it illegal to smoke in your car in Australia? While it’s not illegal to smoke in your car in Australia, laws have been passed recently making it illegal to smoke in a car with young passengers. Some states have different laws, which we’ve detailed below.

Let’s get one thing out of the way – GoGet members aren’t allowed to smoke in our cars, whether it’s legal or illegal. Because GoGet is a car share company, it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep the cars clean for everyone who drives them. We have nothing against smokers, but you can’t smoke in our cars.

Read on for the rules in each state as to whether it is illegal to smoke in your car. If smoking is a problem for you, call the Quitline on 13 78 48 to get help.

 A ceramic ashtray full of cigarette butts and a lit cigarette on the edge - is it illegal to smoke in your car in australia is a question we aim to answer

Is it a good idea to smoke in your car?

No, it is not a good idea to smoke in your car, for a few reasons.

We’re not here to preach, but smoking is bad for you, no matter where you light up. Because a car is a small, enclosed space, smoking in your car exposes your passengers to harmful passive smoking. The laws about smoking in your car are made with this in mind. Smoking also takes a hand off the steering wheel, making driving more dangerous.

There are other reasons not to smoke in your car. 7 billion of the 24 billion cigarettes sold in Australia ended up as littered butts. If you’re smoking in a car, you’ll be tempted to flick your butt out the window, which is terrible for the environment. Not only is that illegal in every Australian state, but cigarettes cause thousands of bushfires every year.

If you’re responsible and don’t flick your butts, then your ashtray will add to the cigarette smell that your car will soak up. This will affect the comfort of your car and lower its resale value. If the car is a GoGet it will also cost you a cleaning fee – and possibly your membership!

A young child in a baby seat in the back seat of a car - if you ask is it illegal to smoke in your car in australia, you should remember it's very illegal to smoke in a car when there are children

Is it illegal to smoke in your car in Australia?

No, it is not illegal to smoke in your car in Australia. However, it is heavily regulated, and it is illegal to smoke in a car when there is a minor travelling in the car as a passenger.

What constitutes a minor and the fines for breaking the law differ from state to state.

Is it illegal to smoke in your car in New South Wales?

In NSW it is illegal to smoke in your car with a child under the age of 16. New South Wales was the first of the eastern mainland states to pass the law, and has harsh penalties for breaking it. You’ll get an on the spot fine of $250, with a maximum fine of $1,100 after appeal.

Is it illegal to smoke in your car in Victoria?

In Victoria it is illegal to smoke in your car with a child under the age of 18. The law passed in 2010, and applies whether the car is moving or not. The on the spot fine is over $200, but the maximum penalty is over $500.

Is it illegal to smoke in your car in Queensland?

In Queensland it is illegal to smoke in your car with a child under the age of 16. When the law was passed in 2010, there were 276,000 Queenslanders with children aged under 16 who smoked. That number has hopefully dropped since, but the $200 on the spot fine hasn’t!

Is it illegal to smoke in your car in South Australia?

In South Australia it is illegal to smoke in your car with a child under the age of 16. The surprisingly progressive state was the first in Australia to pass the law, although the fines are somewhat lower than in other states. You’ll be up for a $75 to $200 fine if you break the law.

Is it illegal to smoke in your car in The Northern Territory?

In The Northern Territory it is illegal to smoke in your car with a child under the age of 16. Unlike their southern neighbours, the Northern Territory was relatively late to the party, passing laws in 2014, making it the last state or Territory to do so. You’ll get an on the spot fine of around $300 if you break the law – a magistrate could increase that to around $3,000!

Is it illegal to smoke in your car in Tasmania?

In Tasmania it is illegal to smoke in your car with a child under the age of 18. Tasmania passed the law in 2008, making it the second state to do so. A $260 on the spot fine can be increased to $2,600 in court. It’s also illegal to smoke in work vehicles when there are two or more people present.

Is it illegal to smoke in your car in Western Australia?

In Western Australia it is illegal to smoke in your car with a child under the age of 17. The laws came into force in 2010 as part of legislation outlawing smoking in a range of public places, including some beaches, alfresco dining areas, and near playgrounds. Offenders are open to a $200 on the spot fine and a $1,000 court fine.

Is it illegal to smoke in your car in Canberra?

In Canberra it is illegal to smoke in your car with a child under the age of 16. The Australian Capital Territory has some of the harshest punishments for non-compliance – you could receive an on the spot fine of $250, which can be increased to $5,500 in court.

A doctor crushing a handful of cigarettes with a stern look - it's not a goo idea to smoke in your  car, even if it is legal in australia

Conclusion: Is it illegal to smoke in your car in Australia?

If there is a minor in the car then yes, it is illegal to smoke in your car in Australia. In some states the cutoff age for that minor is 16 years, in others it’s 18, but in every state you’ll get an on the spot fine, and potentially a larger punishment later.

However, it’s not illegal to smoke in your car in Australia if there are no minors in the car. It is illegal to throw a cigarette butt from the window of a car, and that offense carries very large fines due to the bushfire risk that cigarette butts pose.

If you want to stay on the good side of the law, not cause bushfires, and not lower the value of your car by making it smell of ash and tobacco, then don’t smoke in your car. It’s an easy rule to follow and will make your life much easier.

 

This post shouldn’t be regarded as legal advice. Check that this information applies to your circumstances by speaking with your local road authority.