Smoking Ban

Purpose of this policy

To ensure there is no smoking on school grounds and near school entrances.


Schools must erect no-smoking signs and enforce the ban to prohibit smoking on school grounds and within four metres of school entrances.

Applying the ban

From 13 April 2015, smoking is banned within four metres of an entrance to all primary and secondary schools in Victoria, and within the school grounds, under an amendment to the Tobacco Act 1987. A similar ban applying to the entrances and grounds of Victorian childcare centres and kindergartens is also in place.

While smoking was banned on the grounds of all Victorian Government schools by the Minister for Education in 2009 via a Ministerial Ban Order, the new bans are enshrined in legislation and also apply to Catholic and independent schools in Victoria.

It is a legislative requirement that each school installs suitable ‘No smoking’ signs at all entrances to the school grounds.

Signs and other communication materials, such as posters and brochures, are available to order free-of-charge from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), see: Tobacco Reforms

Please contact the Tobacco Control Section in the DHHS for any questions regarding the new smoking bans, via phone (03) 9096 0469, or via email

The smoking ban applies to:

  • anyone present on school premises during and after school hours including students, teachers, contractors, parents/guardians or the wider community, such as sporting groups.
  • all activities that take place on school premises including pre-schools, kindergartens, outside school hours care, cultural, sporting or recreational activities and school fetes.

Electronic cigarettes

E-cigarettes are electronic devices which heat and vaporise liquids that may or may not contain nicotine and/or flavouring agents. The vapour is inhaled, simulating the act of smoking.

It is illegal to obtain, possess or use e-cigarettes, or their cartridges, which contain nicotine in Victoria. On this basis students, teachers and employees of the Department are banned from possessing or using e-cigarettes, or their cartridges, containing nicotine on school grounds.

It is not illegal in Victoria to obtain, possess or use e-cigarettes that do not contain nicotine. However, individual schools may choose to ban all e-cigarettes, including those that do not contain nicotine, on the basis of student health and safety and that it may be difficult to determine if nicotine is being used.

Actions required

This table describes the actions required to promote and implement the smoking ban.




  • install No Smoking signs at each entrance of the school premises.
  • develop and implement a smoke-free school policy.
  • communicate the ban to:
    - Department employees
    - parents/guardians via the school newsletter
    - new students and parents/guardians during the enrolment process.
  • encourage employees to promote the policy to students.
  • remind the school community that smoking is actively discouraged at all times including at school sanction events held off school premises.
  • encourage Department employees who require support complying with the ban to use the Employee Assistance Program and contact Converge International (1800-337-068).
  • if necessary arrange training workshops with Quit Victoria (9635-5529) on how to support staff and young people to quit.
  • if advice is required about the drug education policy, curriculum learning strategies and the process of responding to a young person who has been smoking at school refer to the Smoke Free Schools resource and/or contact the regional drug education and student wellbeing officer (see: Department resources below).
  • make tobacco education information available.

Related legislation

  • Tobacco Act 1987
  • Education and Training Reform Act 2006
  • Education and Training Reform Regulations 2007

Department resources

For more information see: