Smoke-free Melbourne Policy Development

The conversation

In 2020 a discussion paper and draft Towards Smoke-free Melbourne 2025 policy were developed to outline our vision of the city moving towards becoming smoke-free. The draft policy highlighted four key domains to guide our work in the planning and delivery of more smoke-free areas and other activities to support people to quit and reduce smoking in our city.

During the development phase of the policy in July 2020 the City of Melbourne hosted an online workshop with global health and tobacco control experts. The discussion and feedback received during this workshop greatly assisted with the development of the framework and four domains outlined in the policy.

Feedback from the community engagement period has helped shape the policy further including the four domains and possible actions. These include:

We will protect our community from second-hand smoke and aerosol, and discourage and de-normalise smoking by creating more smoke-free areas and events.

Our ambition is to:

Increase the number of smoke-free areas in the central city where there is high pedestrian activity.

Actions could include:

  • The inclusion of smoke-free areas at:
    • City of Melbourne premier and permitted events
    • entry points to major transport hubs
    • high density retail or tourist areas
    • public thoroughfares and pedestrianised spaces.
  • Include smoking restrictions in major developments and upgrades.
  • Develop a framework to assist entities to ban smoking on private land.

We will educate and raise awareness of the harms of smoking, promote behaviour change and the benefits of quitting.

Our ambitions are to:

  • Support and promote existing behaviour change messaging to support people to quit or reduce smoking.
  • Support groups with higher smoking rates such as Aboriginal communities, young people, international students, those working in the construction industry and people experiencing homelessness.
  • Develop and maintain partnerships with key health promotion organisations to ensure coordinated and evidence-based messaging.

Actions could include:

  • Work with Victorian State Government bodies to ensure signage from Tobacco Act 1987 legislation is adequate at transport stops, playgrounds, education centres etc.
  • Implement clear, adequate and effective signage in new smoke-free areas.
  • Develop targeted campaigns to support population groups with higher smoking rates, e.g. partner with universities to address smoking rates in young people.
  • Partner with key health promotion organisations such as Quit Victoria, Heart Foundation, VicHealth and Tobacco Free Portfolios to deliver behaviour change campaigns.

We will communicate, promote and increase awareness of our policy with a focus on people who smoke, those from diverse backgrounds or with additional needs.

Our ambitions are to:

  • Run a communications campaign to promote our smoke-free policy in the community.
  • Build awareness of current smoking and tobacco laws and regulations.

Actions could include:

  • Develop targeted communications campaigns in partnership with health organisations for population groups with higher smoking rates or those more adversely affected by smoke-free areas, such as Aboriginal communities and those experiencing homelessness.
  • Ensure signage and communications are translated into different languages to ensure policies and laws are understood by culturally and linguistically diverse communities, such as international students.

Regulate smoking activities including the advertising and sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products.

Our ambitions are to:

  • Reduce access to tobacco or vaping products.
  • Enforce smoke-free areas under the Melbourne City Council’s Activities Local Law 2019 (Local Law).
  • Enforce smoking regulations under the Victorian Government Tobacco Act 1987.
  • Support Australian Federal Government smoking controls.
Actions could include:
  • Deliver a ‘sales to minor’ program to monitor underage sales of tobacco and e-cigarette products.
  • Identify all tobacco and e-cigarette retailers in the municipality to enable better enforcement to prevent the sale of tobacco to minors.
  • Develop an agreed process with key stakeholders for communicating and enforcing smoke-free areas for vulnerable population groups, e.g. people experiencing homelessness.
  • Advocate to the Victorian State Government for further tobacco control policy change, e.g. tobacco retail licensing.
  • Include a ban on tobacco and e-cigarette product sales in City of Melbourne owned or managed sites.

Gathering insights

We shared our discussion paper and draft policy from November 2020 to April 2021 and invited the community to have their say through the following ways. We heard from 1222 participants including:


Online survey


Face-to-face pop-up


Online quick poll


Deliberative community panel

Pop-up consultation sessions

What we heard

A total of 1222 participants took part in the community consultation activities. Key findings are outlined in the community engagement report which include:
Figure 1: Participants' level of support for the policy (face-to-face and Participate Melbourne webpage) - What do you think of our vision to move towards a smoke-free city by 2025. It's a great idea, 64.1% It is a good idea, 12.9% It is a really terrible

Figure 1: Participants' level of support for the policy (face-to-face and Participate Melbourne webpage) - "What do you think of our vision to move towards a smoke-free city by 2025"

Figure 36: Areas of the CBD participants would like to see become smoke-free -

Figure 36: Areas of the CBD participants you would like to see become smoke-free - "What areas in the central city would you like to see become smoke-free in the future?"


The draft policy included the vision ‘City of Melbourne will become a smoke-free city by 2025 with smoking restricted in the majority of public spaces and events’. After feedback received during the consultation, the vision has been updated to ‘A smoke-free city where our community is protected from the harms of smoking’.

The policy title has been updated from “Towards Smoke-free Melbourne 2025” to “Smoke-free Melbourne – A policy to protect our community from the harms of smoking”.

Participants from community pop-ups and Participate Melbourne webpage survey were asked to prioritise future smoke-free areas in the central city. Participants could respond by choosing one or more of the multiple-choice options and write their own. The most frequently selected option is “Main entry points to transport hubs” (582) as demonstrated in the figure above.

Document Library

Next steps

The City of Melbourne will now develop an implementation plan for the Smoke-free Melbourne policy to guide initiatives to protect our community from the harms of smoking.

For more information on City of Melbourne’s role in smoking and tobacco control please visit our Smoking and tobacco page.

Smoke-free Melbourne Policy