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The 4 Metre Rule

12 July 2018
Brendan Clayton

The 4 Metre Rule

No smoking near entrances to or exits from a public building (the 4 metre law)

The Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 makes a number of outdoor public places smoke-free. Smoking is banned within 4 metres of a pedestrian entrance to or exit from a public building in NSW. This law is called the ‘4 metre law’. 

What types of public buildings are covered by the 4 metre law?

Smoking is already banned in enclosed areas of public places in NSW. The law extends the smoking ban to cover the area within 4 metres of a pedestrian entrance to or exit from a public building, such as:

  • Shopping centres, malls and plazas;
  • Schools, colleges and universities;
  • Childcare facilities;
  • Community centres, halls and places of worship;
  • Theatres, cinemas, libraries and galleries;
  • Accommodation hotels and motels;
  • Professional, trade, commercial and other business premises;
  • Fitness centres, bowling alleys and other sporting and recreational facilities; 
  • Local, NSW and Federal Government premises. and from 6 July 2015 4 licensed premises including clubs and hotels;
  • Restaurants & Cafés.

What buildings are not covered by the ‘4 metre law’?

Buildings used only for residential purposes such as private houses or multi-unit residential accommodation (such as boarding houses, buildings in caravan parks and residential accommodation in community or strata schemes) are not covered by the ‘4 metre law’. Buildings that have multiple uses, such as residential and commercial purposes, will be subject to the ‘4 metre law’ only at those entrances and exits which are used for nonresidential purposes. 

Does the smoke-free law apply to someone walking along the footpath while smoking as they pass within 4 metres of an entrance to a public building?

No. This situation is not considered an offence, so long as the person does not remain in the smoke-free area while smoking. The purpose of the ban is to stop smokers from congregating immediately outside entrances to or exists from public buildings.

Will there be signage to indicate where smoking is not permitted?

The law does not require signs to be displayed to indicate that smoking is not permitted within 4 metres of a pedestrian entrance to or exit from a public building. This is due to the diverse range of public buildings that are captured under the law. The law allows NSW Health to work with Local Councils and other Government departments to develop signage appropriate to the different public buildings. ‘No smoking’ signage is strongly encouraged to support public awareness of the smoking ban.

How will this be enforced?

NSW Health Authorised Inspectors can enforce the ban within 4 metres of an entrance to or exit from a public building under the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000. On the spot fines of $300 may apply to individuals who do not comply with the ‘4 metre law’, including at hospitality venues from 6 July 2015.

Why is this Act in place?

The number of people who gather just outside the entrances of buildings can be significant. This has the effect of forcing people entering and leaving those buildings to walk through groups of smokers, exposing them to second-hand smoke. Also, smoke drift can easily occur from outside buildings to the indoor areas.

Industroquip Safety & Signage are pleased to announce we have been getting heavily involved in the provision of Designated Smoking Areas and the equipment required to set this type of facility up including:

  • Designated Smoking Shelters
  • Butt Tidys & Cigarette Disposal Systems
  • Designated Smoking Area Signage
  • Outdoor Furniture

To receive trusted safety advice on implementing both the '4 Metre Rule' and Designated Smoking Areas in your workplace be sure to contact us now






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