No smoking in parks policy

Smoking is prohibited in all NSW national parks to make them safer and cleaner for the community. On-the-spot fines apply.

No smoking in national parksThe National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2019 (NPW Regulation) bans smoking in parks, except in commercially leased or licensed accommodation or residential accommodation in parks.

Cigarette butts can:

  • smoulder for up to three hours and cause bushfires
  • poison animals, soil and water
  • spoil the beauty of natural places.


  1. Smoking of all cigarettes and other smoking products is prohibited in areas managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) under clause 18 of the NPW Regulation, except for exempt areas described in this policy.
  1. Banning smoking in parks increases the community's safety and enjoyment of parks by reducing the risk of fires, and by reducing littering and exposure to passive smoking.
  2. Banning smoking removes the risk of cigarette butts starting bushfires. An unextinguished butt can smoulder for up to 3 hours.
  3. Cigarette butts contain hazardous chemicals such as cadmium, arsenic and lead. When a butt is discarded, these chemicals leach out and contaminate soil and water.
  4. Cigarette butts can also be eaten by wildlife, be washed into waterways and spoil the beauty of natural places.
  5. Banning smoking eliminates the effects of passive smoking on park visitors, particularly in areas of high visitor use.
  1. The ban on smoking applies to all parks gazetted under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act), and to other lands managed by NPWS.
  2. Smoking is banned in most areas in parks, including picnic areas, campgrounds, beaches, lookouts, walking tracks and on park roads.
  3. Smoking is not permitted in campgrounds and hard-roofed accommodation managed by NPWS, consistent with the terms and conditions for booking those types of accommodation.
  1. Yes. The ban does not apply to:
    • residences in parks (such as in historic and alpine villages)
    • commercially leased or licensed accommodation
    • staff housing used by NPWS
    except where smoking is prohibited under another NPWS policy or the conditions of a lease or licence.
  2. NPWS may grant a consent under the NPW Regulation to exempt an area or areas in a park from the ban for a specified event and for a specified period of time. A board of management for an Aboriginal-owned park may grant a consent to exempt the park or an area in the park from the ban.
  1. NPWS staff in parks and at NPWS information centres can inform and educate park visitors about the ban.
  2. Messages about the ban on smoking are included in some visitor publications, online, and in some other NPWS publications such as brochures and annual entry passes.
  3. No smoking signs are visible at some major park entrances, in visitor use areas and at visitor information centres.
  4. Authorised NPWS officers such as rangers can issue an on-the-spot fine of $300 for smoking in a park.
  1. No. It would not be possible to have designated smoking areas in parks and at the same time meet the smoking ban's purpose to reduce fire risk, littering and effects of cigarette smoke on other visitors.
  1. No. Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) may be used in parks.
  1. The ban on smoking applies to all NPWS employees, volunteers and other people working in parks.
  2. NPWS will support employees who wish to give up smoking. Employees can also go to the iCanQuit site or call Quitline on 13 78 48 (13 QUIT) from anywhere in Australia.
  1. The ban on smoking applies to park roads, but does not apply to roads owned or managed by Roads and Maritime Services or local councils.
  2. The ban on smoking applies to people using boats in a park if the water body – a stream, creek, river, estuary, dam, lake or reservoir – is within the boundaries of the park.
  1. The ban on smoking applies to all volunteers, including NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers. However, NPWS recognises that it is sometimes impractical for volunteers to comply with the smoking ban when they are fighting fires on long shifts (e.g. up to 12 hours) or attending incidents in large or remote parks.
  2. NPWS will adopt a common-sense approach to applying the smoking ban in those circumstances, or similar situations such as extended search and rescue operations in parks.

Policy adopted December 2014
Policy last updated April 2021

Scope and application

This policy applies to all lands acquired or reserved under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, except for lands reserved under Part 4A of the Act (unless the Board of Management for those lands has adopted the policy). However, the policy still provides guidance for staff in their dealings with Boards of Management.

Smoking is prohibited in all NSW national parks. Banning smoking allows the community to experience the beauty of national parks in a safe and clean environment.

Under the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 smoking is banned in many outdoor places such as near children's play equipment, at public swimming pools, sports grounds, public transport stops, the entrance to public buildings, and in commercial outdoor dining areas.


This policy aims to explain:

  • the benefits to the community of banning smoking in parks
  • where the ban on smoking will apply, and which parts of parks are exempt
  • how the ban on smoking will be implemented.


Cigarette means any object or device used to smoke tobacco products, synthesised tobacco-like products, or illegal substances. It does not include electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) for the purposes of this policy.

Park means a reserve gazetted under the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, including a national park, nature reserve, historic site, Aboriginal area, state conservation area, karst conservation reserve, regional park or any land acquired by the Minister under Part 11 of the Act.

Smoke means to smoke, hold or otherwise have control over, an ignited smoking product (as defined in the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000).

Smoking product means any tobacco or other product that is intended to be smoked (as defined in the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000). The term includes all tobacco products used in cigarettes, pipes, cigars and water pipes, and any other product used for smoking.


This section outlines NPWS staff with significant responsibilities for ensuring implementation of the policy.

Paragraph Position
  1. Issue consent to exempt an area or areas in a park from the smoking ban for a specified event or period of time
Branch Director