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Tattoos, piercing and cigarettes

We don't give advice about this area of law

The information below may help you to resolve your matter or find out who else can help. 

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

It’s illegal to sell cigarettes to anyone less than 18 years of age.

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

Shops, businesses or people selling cigarettes can ask you for identification (ID) proving you’re 18 or over, and they can refuse to give you cigarettes 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 tobacco 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 cigarettes, they can ask for proof of your age and your name and address.  If they find out that you got the cigarettes 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 under 17.

Lawmail 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.

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