The Legalities of Vaping While Driving in Australia

An increasing number of Australians are vaping with e-cigarettes and other kinds of vape devices. Vaping has become a viable alternative to smoking for many Australians throughout the country.

From a legal perspective, every state and territory in Australia has specific laws that regulate vaping and smoking nicotine-based products. One of the most significant laws governing vaping is whether you are allowed to vape while driving.

Most people assume vaping behind the wheel is okay because smoking a cigarette behind the wheel is legal in many cases. The only times when smoking a cigarette behind the wheel is not allowed is if you have children in the vehicle or toss a lit cigarette out the window. So, naturally, people assume that similar rules apply to vaping.

However, there are some contrasts between how vaping and smoking are regulated in each Australian state and territory. Below is a breakdown of the regulatory differences between them in various locations:

New South Wales

The New South Wales government does not have an outright ban on vaping while driving. With that being said, there are some rules that drivers must follow if they want to vape while driving.

One of those rules is Rule 297, which requires drivers to maintain complete control over their vehicles if vaping while driving. If a police officer determines a driver does not have control over their car because they are vaping, it could lead to three demerit points against the driver and a $481 fine. But if the offense takes place in a school zone, the penalty increases to four demerit points and a $603 fine.

In addition, the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008 is legislation that prohibits smoking and vaping in a vehicle with someone under 16 years old in it. The law also prohibits passengers from smoking and vaping in the same car as a child as well.

Driving and Vaping


The Victoria government does not have an outright ban on vaping while driving. But, like in New South Wales, it has passed laws that regulate vaping behind the wheel.

For instance, it is against the law to vape or smoke in a car if someone under 18 years old is in it. Anyone caught breaking this law could face a $384 fine and have fine court penalty units imposed on them, which are equal to approximately $961.

As you can see, the laws in Victoria are a little more relaxed than in New South Wales due to the age limit differences for child passengers.


Queensland also does not have any laws banning vaping while driving outright. But, they have regulations that drivers must follow to avoid harsh monetary penalties.

Like in New South Wales, the laws of Queensland state that drivers and passengers cannot smoke or vape if someone under 16 years old is in the car. In addition, Queensland also prohibits vaping in commercial vehicles that have more than one passenger in them.

The penalties for offenders include a standard $309 fine and up to $3,000+ in additional court penalties and fees.

Western Australia 

Western Australia permits vaping while driving as well. But if you have someone under 17 years old in your vehicle as you vape, you could face a minimum $200 fine and up to an additional $1,000 in court penalties and fees.

Smoking behind the wheel is prohibited, though. In fact, you are not even allowed to smoke while driving cars, riding motorcycles, or as a passenger in the rear of a utility vehicle.

South Australia

South Australia enforces the Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Act of 1997, prohibiting smoking or vaping while driving with passengers under 16 years old. But if you want to smoke or vape without any children in the vehicle, you are allowed to do so.

Courts will penalize offenders with a fine of up to $750 and an expiation fee of $204. They don’t impose any demerit points against the offenders.


Tasmania made history as the first Australian state to ban smoking while driving with passengers under 18 years old. And since the Public Health Act 1997 treats vaping and smoking the same, you cannot vape while driving with someone under 18 either.

The penalty for violating this law varies based on the quantity and severity of the offense. For example, Tasmanian courts will impose anywhere from 1 to 20 penalty units on offenders who vape while driving with minors. Each penalty unit is the equivalent of a $195 fine, which means your total fine could be up to $3,900 if the court issues 20 penalty units.

Northern Territory

Vaping or smoking while driving is allowed if no children under 16 years old are in the vehicle. If you have a child under 16 years old in the car, a penalty of around $300 will be issued to you immediately.

You have the option to challenge the fine in court, but that could lead to nearly $3,000 in court penalties if you lose the case. We recommend you don’t challenge the fine if there is no legitimate basis to do so.

Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory prohibits vaping and smoking while driving with passengers under 16 years old. But you can still vape and smoke while driving without minors in the car.

According to the ACT Smoking in Cars with Children (Prohibition) Act 2011, any individual driver who vapes while driving with someone under 16 could face a $150 fine. Also, if a driver vapes while operating a commercial vehicle with someone under 16, the imposed fine goes up to $750.


In most Australian states and territories, vaping while driving is acceptable as long as you don’t drive with children in the car. If you can remember that, chances are that you will be following the state and local laws.

Of course, these laws can change at any time, so make sure you stay updated on the latest legislation regarding vaping in these states and territories.


We are not lawyers or legal professionals. The information provided above is based on data gathered from non-legal sources. As laws are always changing, this information could be out of date or inaccurate. We recommend verifying the specific laws and regulations for vaping while driving by contacting a licensed attorney or government authority from the state or territory in which you wish to drive.