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Eating or drinking venues

Liquor licensed businesses

For all businesses, these areas must be no-smoking:

  • 100% of the indoor area
  • outdoor eating and drinking areas where food or drink is provided as part of a business.

A Designated Outdoor Smoking Area (DOSA) is a space that allows smoking and drinking, but not eating, to occur.

Liquor licensed premises holding one of the following licences can choose to have a DOSA:

  • commercial hotel,
  • community club, or
  • commercial special facility (containing all or part of a casino).

Read more about the requirements for a DOSA.

Non-liquor licensed food or drink businesses

Indoor smoking bans apply to all non-licensed food and BYO premises.

All outdoor eating and drinking areas where food or drink is provided as part of a business, must be no-smoking. This rule applies to all businesses.

If you wish to provide an outdoor area for patrons to smoke:

  • the food or drink you sell must not be served to patrons, taken into, or consumed in this area
  • the smoking area must be at least 5 metres away from a building entrance.
  • you must ensure that patrons smoke only in this area. 

You do not need to have a buffer zone between the smoking area and other outdoor areas.

Designated Outdoor Smoking Area (DOSA)

Under the tobacco laws, liquor licensed premises that hold a commercial hotel, community club or commercial special facility licence can designate an outdoor area where smoking and drinking, but not eating, can occur. Penalties apply for non-compliance.

Patrons can order their drinks in a different area then take them into the DOSA, and smoke and drink there. A DOSA is an outdoor area where patrons who wish to smoke may take their drink while they have a cigarette break, before returning to their group or companion.

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 poker machines can be located in the DOSA.

About buffers

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

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

Smoking management plan

If you choose to have a Designated Outdoor Smoking Area (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
  • make your Smoking Management Plan available on request to patrons and Queensland Health enforcement officers who inspect your premises.

Completing your plan

The Smoking management plan template is available online or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68). The 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 tobacco 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.

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. Read Sections 26W - 26ZC of the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998 (PDF, 646 KB), 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: 22 September 2016

Forms and templates

Download and print:

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