ACT News


An election promise to count on: outdoor smoking bans coming

Laws that have banned smoking near playgrounds, swimming pools and bus stops in NSW will be introduced in the ACT.

The ACT government says it will fulfil its election promise to increase the number of smoke-free outdoor areas in the territory and hopes to enact the laws during this term.

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner boasted on Monday that her state had some of the most advanced anti-tobacco measures in the country after new smoking restrictions in public outdoor areas began.

The laws forbid smoking in many outdoor areas, including within 10 metres of children's play equipment, at swimming pools, in spectator areas at sports grounds, and at bus stops, taxi ranks and on train station platforms.

The ACT government took a similar policy to the October 2012 election and said on Monday that work had begun to fulfil that commitment.

The government plans to ban smoking, or increase awareness of existing smoking bans, at public swimming pools, playgrounds, sports fields where children are present, covered bus interchanges, university campuses, building entrances and large public outdoor events.


''Detailed work is currently being undertaken to progress these commitments,'' acting Health Minister Andrew Barr said. ''The Chief Minister will provide further details in the coming months.''

Mr Barr defended the territory's existing smoking laws and said the government had taken considerable steps to discourage smoking and reduce the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.

''These include restrictions on smoking at health centres, schools, restaurants and bars, outdoor drinking and eating areas and in cars carrying children,'' he said.

''We have restricted the way tobacco is sold and marketed and promoted smoking cessation programs in our community.''

The ACT banned smoking in outdoor eating and drinking areas in 2011 and the NSW government will extend its ban on outdoor tobacco smoke to outdoor dining areas at licensed premises, restaurants and cafes in 2015.

But Mrs Skinner said the laws enacted on Monday still made NSW one of the toughest jurisdictions in the country when it came to anti-tobacco policy.

''The NSW government has already demonstrated its commitment to reducing smoking and its impact in our community by establishing ambitious targets to continue to reduce smoking,'' she said.

"Smoking-related illness accounts for around 5200 deaths and 44,000 hospitalisations per year in NSW and costs about $8 billion annually.

"Taking steps to limit people's exposure to second-hand smoke in outdoor public places is a key step in efforts to minimise tobacco smoking in our society.''


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