Smoking is banned in public areas in South Africa.

South Africa became one of the first countries in the world to ban smoking in public places in 2000 when it introduced its Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act. The act put a serious dent in the smoking culture in South Africa, as it prohibited smoking in restaurants, pubs, shopping centres and offices where there was no separate, enclosed smoking room.

The South African smoking laws were tightened even further in 2009 when the government banned smoking in partially enclosed public places such as covered patios, verandas, balconies, walkways and parking areas, as well as smoking in cars where there were children under the age of 12 present. Children under the age of 18 were also prohibited from entering designated smoking areas and purchasing cigarettes.

There are stiff penalties associated with anti-smoking legislation in South Africa, including hefty fines for both the smoker and venue operator. Be aware that smoking is banned on all domestic flights in South Africa; in all airport terminals; in all restaurants, pubs and offices with no designated smoking areas; on all public transport; in cinemas and shopping malls; and even in some hotel rooms (check on booking).

South Africa’s smoking laws could be strengthened even more in future, so keep a look out for ‘no smoking’ signs and only smoke in designated smoking areas.


  • What are the penalties for smoking outside designated smoking areas?
  • The fine for the owner of a restaurant, pub, bar or office that breaks the smoking law is a maximum of R50 000. Individual smokers are fined R500.