Tattoos, piercing and cigarettes

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    We don't give advice about this area of law

    The following content is for general purposes only. Legal Aid Queensland does not provide legal advice in this area. For more information, please contact a lawyer.

    There are laws in Queensland about what age you can:

    • get a tattoo
    • get a body piercing
    • buy cigarettes.

    You should get legal advice if you’ve been given a tattoo or a piercing without your agreement.

    Getting a tattoo

    You must be aged 18 or over to get a tattoo. A tattoo studio may ask for proof of age if they think you are under 18.

    It’s illegal to tattoo a person under 18—even if your parent or guardian agrees.

    Getting a body piercing

    If you’re under 18, it’s illegal for someone to pierce your:

    • genitalia (eg a girl’s external genitalia or a boy’s penis or scrotal skin)
    • nipples.

    There’s no specific age for you to be able to get other types of body piercings. If you’re under 18, you can agree to be pierced without your parents’ consent if you’re capable of forming a sound and reasoned decision. However, while you may not need your parents’ consent by law, many piercing studios may still need it.

    Buying cigarettes or smoking products

    It’s illegal to sell smoking products to anyone under18 years of age. Smoking products include such things as:

    • tobacco cigarettes
    • herbal cigarettes
    • e-cigarettes, including where the vaporiser and liquid are sold separately.

    The law doesn’t say when you can smoke these types of smoking products, but it’s illegal to pretend that you’re 18 or over to buy them.

    Shops, businesses or people selling smoking products can ask you for identification (ID) proving you’re 18 or over, and they can refuse to give you smoking products if you can’t produce proof of your age. Acceptable ID includes:

    • a driver licence
    • proof of age card (like an 18+ card)
    • passport.

    Your ID must show your photo and date of birth.

    It’s also illegal for anyone to sell, give or supply a smoking product to anyone under 18. This doesn’t apply if they are the child’s parent or other responsible person (like a step-parent or guardian).

    If a police officer or another person authorised by law (like a local government worker) thinks that you’ve just been supplied with a smoking product, they can ask for proof of your age and your name and address. If they find out that you got the smoking products illegally, they can take them from you and they don’t have to give them back.

    We don’t give legal advice about this area of law.

    The following organisations may be able to give legal advice.

    Youth Advocacy Centre provides a community legal and social welfare service for young people up to 18 years.

    Youth Law Australia is a legal advice service for young people under 18 years of age. They can give free legal advice by email.

    YFS Legal gives legal information and advice to young people aged under 25.

    Community legal centres give legal advice on a range of topics. Contact them to find out if can help

    Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private lawyer for advice or representation.

    Who else can help?

    These organisations may be able to help. They don't give legal advice.

    Kids Helpline has a 24 hour free and confidential telephone, online and email counselling service for children aged 5 to 18 years.

    Womens Health Queensland Wide gives information on health issues, including body piercing and smoking.

    Disclaimer: This content is for general purposes only and not legal advice. If you have a legal problem, please contact us or speak to a lawyer. View our full disclaimer.

    Last updated 18 November 2022