School operations

Smoking and Vaping Ban


The purpose of this policy is to support public health objectives and ensure there is no smoking or use of e-cigarettes (commonly known as 'vaping') on school premises (buildings and grounds), within 4 metres of school entrances or at school sanctioned events held off-premises.


  • In Victoria, a person must not smoke or use e-cigarettes on school premises or within 4 metres of any pedestrian access point to school premises.
  • Inhaling vapour from an e-cigarette is known as ‘vaping’. When using an e-cigarette, the user inhales and exhales the vapour, which can look similar to smoking a cigarette. The prohibition on smoking includes the use of e-cigarettes (vaping) and applies whether or not the e-cigarette contains nicotine.
  • Cigarettes and e-cigarettes cannot be sold to people under 18 years of age.
  • It is a legislative requirement that schools display suitable ‘No Smoking’ signs at all pedestrian access points (entrances) to the school grounds. The legislation defines smoking to include the use of an e-cigarette.
  • In Victoria, a person must not smoke in a motor vehicle if a person under 18 years is also present in the motor vehicle.
  • Smoking and vaping are also not permitted during school events and excursions held off school premises.


A person must not smoke cigarettes including e-cigarettes (regardless of whether they contain nicotine) within school premises and within 4 metres of any pedestrian access to school premises. Smoking in these places is a fineable offence.

Schools must display ‘No Smoking’ signs and enforce the ban to prohibit smoking and vaping on school premises (including buildings and grounds) and within 4 metres of school entrances.

The smoking and vaping ban applies to:

  • anyone present on school premises during and outside of school hours including students, teachers, contractors, parents or carers 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

Schools must:

  • display ‘No Smoking’ signs at each pedestrian access point to the school premises. Free ‘No Smoking’ signs can be ordered and downloaded through the Department of Health and Human Services website — refer to the Resources tab
  • display the signs in such a prominent position at each entrance to make it clear that the area at or within 4 metres of that entrance is a ‘no smoking’ area

Principals or their delegate should: 

  • ensure that the whole school community is aware that smoking and vaping are not permitted on school premises and within 4 metres of school entrances. This may be achieved through the signage required at each entrance. If further measures are required (due to non-compliance), notices in the school newsletter, on the school website and direct communication with specific staff, students, parents/carers or visitors who are non-compliant may be required. Template wording to assist schools in communicating the smoking and vaping ban is available in the Resources tab.
  • remind the school community that smoking and vaping are not permitted at school-sanctioned events held off school premises
  • where relevant remind staff that a person must not smoke in a motor vehicle if a person under 18 years is also present in the motor vehicle
  • encourage Department employees who require support complying with the ban to either:
    • call the Quitline on 13 7848. Quitline is a friendly, confidential telephone service. A Quitline counsellor is trained to listed carefully and provide practical advice tailored for each person.
    • use the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or contact LifeWorks (1300 361 008)
  • if necessary, arrange training with Quit Victoria on how to support staff and young people to quit
  • make tobacco education information available. Education resources are available in the Resources tab

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), commonly known as ‘vaping’

In Victoria it is illegal for any person aged 18 or over to obtain, possess or use nicotine e-cigarettes, or e-cigarette cartridges containing nicotine, or nicotine liquids for use in a vaporiser, without a prescription. It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes to, or buy e-cigarettes for, any person aged under 18 years whether or not the e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Whilst it is not unlawful for a person to possess or use e-cigarettes that do not contain nicotine, it is unlawful to use them on school premises or within 4 metres of a school entrance.


Electronic cigarettes
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are electronic devices which heat and vaporise liquids that may or may not contain nicotine or flavouring agents. The vapour is inhaled, simulating the act of smoking. Use of e-cigarettes is commonly referred to as ‘vaping’.

Relevant legislation

Department policy outlining the legislative requirements to implement the smoking and vaping ban in schools

Reviewed 22 November 2021

Policy last updated

27 January 2021


  • Schools


Health Promotion, Prevention and Advice

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