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Buying cigarettes

It is against the law for anyone to sell cigarettes to you if you are under 18.This includes herbs and other things that are smoked, even if they do not contain tobacco.  Anyone who sells or gives cigarettes to someone under 18 can be heavily fined.

Do I have to show ID?

If you’re buying cigarettes and you look like you might be under 18, the shop assistant may ask you to provide Valid ID. Valid ID includes:

  • a current drivers’ license including a photo and the date of birth of the cardholder; or
  • a valid card with a photo permissible showing you are 18 years or older; or
  • a current passport.

Most staff will ask you to provide ID if you look younger than 25. You cannot be forced to show ID by shop assistants, but if you don’t, they probably won’t sell you cigarettes.

It is against the law to use a fake ID to buy cigarettes.  For more information see our Fake ID page.

Can police confiscate my cigarettes if I am under 18?

There is no law which says the police can confiscate your cigarettes just because you are under 18.

Where can I smoke?


It is against the law to smoke in enclosed public places and workplaces in the Northern Territory.  Enclosed places are places that have a roof, and are mostly surrounded by walls (even if there are doors or open passageways).  

Some examples of places where smoking is illegal are:

  • Shopping centres;
  • Restaurants, cafes and dining areas;
  • Pubs, clubs and bars (except designated smoking areas);
  • Schools, colleges and universities;
  • Community centres, halls and churches;
  • Theatres, libraries and galleries;
  • Public transport (buses, trains, trams, aeroplanes, taxis, ferries);
  • Gyms and sporting facilities;
  • Hospitals.


It is also illegal to smoke in outdoor areas where food or drink is served, like outdoor cafes and restaurants.


If you are caught smoking in any of these places, unless there were no signs or other easy way of knowing the place was a smoke-free area, you may:

  • be given a warning; or
  • be fined $308 on the spot by police;
  • choose to have the matter decided by a court (which may fine you up to $3100 if convicted).

It is up to the police whether to give you a warning or fine, but you can always choose to go to court instead.

Can I smoke in a car?

You are not allowed to smoke in a car, where the car is on a public street or in a public place, and where a person under 16 is in the car.

This is a “strict liability” offence. That means it does not matter whether you knew the age of the person, so long as you are caught smoking whilst they are in the car, you can be charged and found guilty. The penalty for this offence is a fine.

Additional information

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