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Eating or drinking places

Smoking bans apply to enclosed and outdoor areas of all places where food or drink is provided by a business or organisation.

Smoking areas are permitted at eating and drinking places, however there are strict controls on these areas:

  • Smoking-only areas – can be provided at eating and drinking places. Smoking is permitted in these areas, but no food or drink can be served or consumed.
  • Designated Outdoor Smoking Areas (DOSAs) - can only be provided at particular liquor licensed premises. DOSAs are areas where smoking and drinking can occur, but no food may be served or consumed.

From 1 September 2023:

A 5-metre smoke-free buffer applies from the boundary of outdoor eating and drinking places.

Eating and drinking places that choose to provide a Smoking-only area for patrons must ensure that:

  • a smoke-free buffer of at least 2 metre wide surrounds the area (the buffer may be a space, object or structure)
  • food or drink is not served to patrons, taken into, or consumed in this area or its buffer
  • entertainment is not offered in this area or its buffer
  • the area is not enclosed
  • certain information is displayed for patrons including:
    • a diagram or notice showing the limits of the area and the buffer
    • a prominent sign in the area that indicates this is the only place where smoking can occur and that no food or drink can be consumed in the area or buffer
  • the area must not be an area where smoking is otherwise prohibited under the Act for example within 5 metres of an entrance to an enclosed place/building.

Designated Outdoor Smoking Area (DOSA)

A DOSA is an outdoor area where patrons who wish to smoke may take their drink while they have a cigarette.

Under the smoking laws, liquor licensed premises that hold a commercial hotel, community club or commercial special facility licence (containing all or part of a casino) can designate an outdoor area where smoking and drinking, but not eating, can occur. Penalties apply for non-compliance. Premises that hold other types of liquor licences cannot have a DOSA. A premises cannot provide both a DOSA and a Smoking-only area.

Rules for a DOSA

  • You can have more than one DOSA at the premises, but the total area of all DOSAs must not be more than 50% of the whole outdoor liquor licensed area of the premises.
  • Each DOSA must have a buffer on its perimeter, wherever it is next to other parts of your outdoor area that are ordinarily accessed by patrons.
  • It is a legal requirement that the entire remaining outdoor licensed area is no-smoking. As a licensee it is your responsibility to ensure that patrons do not smoke in these areas of the premises.
  • You must prepare and keep up-to-date a Smoking Management Plan for the entire premises.
  • You must put up a diagram or sign that clearly shows the limits of the area/s, and the availability of the Smoking Management Plan.

What cannot happen in a DOSA:

  • Food cannot be taken into or consumed in the DOSA. “Food” means anything you can eat, and includes all food items, such as meals and snacks (e.g. chips and nuts).
  • Food or drink cannot be served to patrons in the DOSA. Staff can enter the DOSA to clear glasses and empty ashtrays, but they must not take orders from, or serve food or drinks to patrons.
  • No entertainment can be provided in the DOSA. This includes having television screens, music speakers, bands, pool tables, or any other type of amusement in the area.
  • No gaming machines can be located in the DOSA.

From 1 July 2024:

  • Children cannot remain in the DOSA.
  • Smoke-free buffer requirements are extended and will apply wherever a DOSA is adjacent to parts of the premises ordinarily access by customers.
  • If a buffer includes a door, the door must remain closed unless customers or employees of the premises are using the door to enter or exit the DOSA.
  • If a buffer includes a window, the window must remain closed while the DOSA is being used.

About buffers

A buffer indicates a separation between smoking and no-smoking areas. There are 2 options for buffers:

  • an area at least 2 metres wide in which patrons cannot eat, drink or smoke. At least 1 metre must come from your DOSA area and the other 1 metre must come from your no-smoking area; or
  • a screen at least 2.1 metres high that is impervious to smoke, this should be placed on the perimeter of your DOSA.

Signage for Designated Smoking Areas

The licensee must display a no smoking sign that complies with the requirements of the regulation in a place that is easily visible at each public entrance from an outdoor area to an enclosed place at premises.

A no smoking sign must display either:

  • a no smoking symbol in the form of a circle and a diagonal line over a depiction of a cigarette and smoke, or
  • a no smoking symbol in the form of a circle and a diagonal line over a depiction of a cigarette and smoke and an electronic cigarette.

The symbol must be at least 70mm in diameter. The sign can also display words that indicate smoking is not permitted.

No smoking signs are available for free by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

Smoking management plan

If you choose to have a DOSA at your premises, you must

  • prepare and keep up-to-date a Smoking Management Plan for the entire premises
  • display a sign in or near your DOSA stating that your Smoking Management Plan is available on request; and
  • make your Smoking Management Plan available on request to patrons and Queensland Health enforcement officers who inspect your premises.

The smoking management plan must:

  • identify the designated outdoor smoking area/s
  • identify the outdoor areas where food is provided
  • identify the buffers
  • state how the licensee will minimise the exposure of staff and patrons to environmental tobacco smoke
  • describe the training or instruction given to staff to ensure the laws and the smoking management plan are complied with; and
  • state that signage is provided in the premises to identify where smoking is or is not allowed.

Completing your plan

The Smoking management plan template is the blank version of the plan that you can use to create a plan for your premises.

The sample smoking management plan is an example of how the plan could be filled out.

The plan does not need to be approved by Queensland Health, but it is an offence to not make the plan available to Queensland Health enforcement officers on request.

Special circumstances

The use of outdoor areas may change from day to day. For example, on a cold and windy day, plastic walls could be pulled down, and this can have the effect of making the outdoor area 'enclosed'. In this situation the area may not be used as a DOSA.

As another example, a premises may have two small DOSAs, but on an 'event' day may want to have one larger DOSA. This is allowed, but the Smoking Management Plan must include the details of the different scenarios and all configurations must meet legislative requirements.

Indoor and outdoor areas

Indoor or enclosed area

The smoking laws define an enclosed area as: An area is enclosed if it has a ceiling or roof, and except for doors and passageways, is completely or substantially enclosed, whether permanently or temporarily.

Outdoor area

An outdoor area is an area that does not meet the above definition of enclosed. Another term for an outdoor area is a non-enclosed area. Refer to sections 26W - 26ZC of the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998, for details on the legislative requirements for outdoor eating or drinking places.

When making a decision about whether an area is an outdoor area, ask: does the area have a roof or ceiling or other solid covering?

If the answer is 'no', the area will most likely be an outdoor area as it cannot meet the definition of enclosed.

If the answer is ‘yes’, then is the area surrounded by walls or fences or otherwise enclosed?

As a general rule, if the area has only one wall, it will most probably not meet the definition of enclosed. If the area has three or more walls, it most probably will meet the definition of enclosed. It is not possible to give a more definitive description of enclosed because of the infinite number of building configurations.

Another thing to consider is what materials the walls or fences are made from. If an area is surrounded on three sides with closely spaced 180cm high timber palings, it will enclose the area. The same area surrounded by waist-high pool fencing (thin bars with wide gaps) may not be enclosed.

The most important thing to consider is "would the average person say the area is enclosed?"

This is the question Queensland Health enforcement officers will ask themselves when they inspect your premises. It is also a question that a magistrate could consider, should the matter be taken to court if your opinion as the licensee differs from the opinion of the Queensland Health enforcement officer.

Last updated: 20 September 2023

Forms and templates

Download and print:

  • smoking management plan template
  • sample smoking management plan
  • Employee information and training acknowledgement form

Smoking laws

Find out more

Call 13 QGOV (13 74 68) for:

  • information about Queensland's smoking laws
  • reporting possible breaches of the legislation for further investigation
  • help for smoking product retailers, liquor licensed venue managers, business and organisations to understand and comply with the laws
  • information about current fines and penalties
  • free copies of signs and forms required by legislation