Disclaimer: The material in this factsheet is a general guide only. It is not legal advice. For legal advice about your own particular situation we encourage you to call the Free Legal Helpline on 1300 366 424. The legal information was correct at the time of publishing (March 2016), however may change without notice.


The Legal Services Commission gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the National Children’s and Youth Legal Centre in allowing the Legal Services Commission of South Australia to use and adapt existing content.

In this section you will find information on:

  • Buying cigarettes
  • Confiscating cigarettes
  • Where you can smoke cigarettes

Buying Cigarettes

What age can I buy cigarettes?  What if someone else gives them to me?

It is against the law for anyone to sell cigarettes to you if you are under 18 years old. This can include herbs and other things that are smoked, even if they do not contain tobacco. Anyone who sells or gives cigarettes to someone under 18 can be fined.

Do I have to show ID if I get asked for it?

The shop keeper can ask you to show evidence of your age if you try to buy cigarettes and they think you might be under 18.  Drivers Licences and Proof of Age cards can be used for ID.

If you lie about your age, or use a fake ID, you are breaking the law.  You can be fined for doing so, and the police may confiscate the fake ID. 

Confiscating cigarettes

Can anyone confiscate my cigarettes if I am under 18?

Police and school teachers can confiscate cigarettes from you if you are under 18.  The person who takes them is not allowed to return them to you. They don’t have to pay you any compensation for the cigarettes if this happens to you.

Where you can smoke cigarettes

Where can I smoke?

It is against the law to smoke in enclosed public places, workplaces, and shared 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). This includes places you have to pay to enter (like a theatre).

Some examples of the smoke-free 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;
  • Workplaces;
  • Stairwells, carparks;
  • Hospitals.

If you are caught smoking in one of these places, you may be:

  • given an informal caution; or
  • given an expiation fee $75 on the spot by police (if you are 16 or older); or
  • if the matter is decided by a court – you could be fined $200.

See the SA Health website for more information.

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.

If you are under 18 your teacher can confiscate cigarettes from you, even if you are not on the school grounds.

Can I smoke in a car?

You cannot smoke in a car if there is someone younger than 16 in the car. The possible fines are the same as for smoking in public places, above.

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