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Is it illegal to drive and smoke?

It’s now clear that smoking isn’t the smartest way to burn your money, but there are still plenty of people who smoke — including those who puff on regular old duries, puff on cigars, or smoke e-cigarettes (also called vaping).

  • Smoking a cigarette while driving is not illegal under certain circumstances
  • Some states have strict laws about smoking with children in the car
  • Throwing a lit cigarette out of the car can result in a huge fine

The bottom line is that you can smoke in your car if you are not considered a minor and there is no minor in the car at the time. The definition of a minor varies from state to state – see below for details.

And you might be surprised to learn that while smoking and driving are illegal under certain circumstances, the biggest penalties for this activity aren’t related to smoking – they’re caused by dumping lit cigarettes out of your car window.

In New South Wales you can even be fined up to $11,000 and 10 minus points for throwing a lit cigarette out a window on a total fire ban day. Unless the fire risk is at this extreme level, a cop could still stab you or your passengers with a five-point, $660 misdemeanor.

So, sure, don’t scatter, especially if you’re thinking about flicking your dart out the window. It’s stupid, dangerous and potentially life-threatening.

Here is an overview of the smoking rules you need to know when it comes to driving and smoking.


As in many other jurisdictions, if you smoke in a car with anyone under the age of 16 present you will be in trouble as it is a criminal offense under the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008. The aim of the law is to protect young people from exposure to second-hand smoke, which can harm their health and development.

If you’re caught doing the wrong thing, you could be hit on the spot with a $250 fine, and that applies to the passengers in the vehicle, not just the driver. If it goes to court, a judge could increase that fine to $1,100.


You are allowed to smoke and drive in Victoria if no one in the car is under the age of 18. Smoking in the car with a minor risks an $826 fine.


In QLD, the law states that smoking is illegal in motor vehicles when a person under the age of 16 is present or when the vehicle is used for business and there is more than one person in the vehicle. And don’t think vaping is okay — the law applies to “all smoking products, including electronic cigarettes.”

South Australia

SA smoke-free car legislation requires drivers and vehicle occupants to refrain from smoking in a car when a child (a person under the age of 16) is present. The state can impose fines of up to $750, but there’s a $105 fine if you admit you did the wrong thing.

Western Australia

Much like the rest of the nation, WA wants its adults to smoke responsibly.

Smoking in or on a vehicle – whether in a car or on a motorcycle or on the back seat of a bus – is illegal when the vehicle is on a road.

“If you smoke in or on a vehicle when a child under the age of 17 was present, the following fines may be imposed: maximum fine ($1,000); Violation Notice ($200).”


Apple Isle was the first state in Australia to introduce a ban on smoking in cars when a minor (a person under the age of 18) was present – this law came into effect in 2007.

An on the spot fine, reportedly $120, seems like small change compared to taking the matter to court, where a judge can impose a $2400 fine.


The nation’s capital is following the “don’t smoke in the car with a child” mindset, declaring that it’s a criminal offense to smoke or vape in a car while on the road or in a traffic-related area with anyone under the age of 16 are of age.

The laws went into effect in 2012 and if you had challenged the immediate fine ($250 at the time) you could have been fined $5500 if found guilty in court. Who knows what that number is today, what with inflation and cigarette prices and all.

Northern Territory

Same story in the NT where you can be fined for smoking, vaping or using an e-cigarette in a “motor vehicle when carrying passengers under the age of 16”.

You could face an immediate fine of $298, which could increase 10-fold if you go to court and are found guilty.

Not intended as legal advice. Check with the appropriate highway authority in your state or territory.



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