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Is it illegal to drive while smoking?

By now it’s clear that smoking isn’t the smartest thing you can do to burn your money, but there are still plenty of smokers – including regular longtime smokers, or smoking cigars or e-cigarettes (also known as vaping).

  • Smoking while driving is not illegal in some cases
  • Some states have strict laws about smoking with children in the car
  • Throwing a burning cigarette out of a car can result in heavy fines

The bottom line is that you can smoke in your car if you are not considered a minor and there are no minors in the car with you at the time. The definition of a minor varies, state by state – details below.

And you might be surprised to learn that smoking and driving are illegal in some cases, but the biggest punishment for that behavior doesn’t really come from smoking – they come from throwing away. cigarette butts are burning out of your car window.

In fact, in New South Wales, you can be fined up to $11,000 and demerit 10 points for throwing a burning cigarette out a window on a day where all fires are banned. When the fire risk is not that high, the police can still burn you or your passenger with a fine of 5 points, a fine of $660.

So obviously don’t litter, especially if you’re thinking of throwing your darts out the window. It’s silly, dangerous, and can be – in some cases – life-threatening.

Here is a summary of the smoking rules that you need to know when driving and smoking.

New South Wales

As with many other jurisdictions, you will be in conflict if you smoke in a car with anyone under the age of 16 present, as it is a violation of the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008. The purpose of this law is to protect young people from secondhand smoke, which can be detrimental to their health and development.

If you are caught doing the wrong thing, you can be fined $250 on the spot, and this applies to the passengers on the vehicle, not just the driver. If it ends up in court, a judge can increase that fine up to $1100.


In Victoria, you can smoke and drive if there is no one under the age of 18 in the vehicle. If you smoke with a minor in the car, you risk an $826 fine.


The QLD law states that it is illegal to smoke in a motor vehicle if there is a person under the age of 16 or if the vehicle is being used for business and there are many people in the vehicle. And don’t think vaping is okay – the law applies to “all smoking products, including e-cigarettes”.

South Australia

SA’s Smoke-Free Automobile Law urges drivers and occupants not to smoke in their vehicles if there are children (people under 16 years of age). The state can enforce fines of up to $750, but there will be an Expiration Fee of $105 if you admit you did something wrong.

Western Australia

Like the rest of the nation, WA wants its adults to act responsibly when smoking.

It is illegal to smoke in or in a vehicle – that is, in a car, or on a motorcycle or in the back of a car – if the vehicle is on the road.

“If you smoke in or in a vehicle in the presence of children under 17 years of age, the following fines may apply: maximum fines imposed by the court ($1000); violation notice ($200).”


Apple Isle was the first state in Australia to introduce a ban on smoking in cars in the presence of minors (people under the age of 18) – that law has been in effect since 2007.

The on-the-spot fine, reportedly $120, seems to vary greatly from taking the matter to court, where a judge could fine $2400.


The nation’s capital follows a “no smoking when young children are in a car” mindset, which states that smoking or vaping in a car, while on the road or in any area involving the road ministry, with anyone under the age of 16 is a violation of the age law.

The law went into effect in 2012, and if you object to the spot fine ($250 at the time), you could be fined $5,500 if found guilty in court. Who knows what that number is today, what will happen to inflation and cigarette prices and all.

Northern Territory

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

You could face an on-the-spot fine of $298 and possibly a 10-fold increase if you take it to court and are found guilty.

Not intended as legal advice. Check with the relevant road authority in your state or territory.

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