CANCER Council NSW has joined at least one other organisation in approving the NSW government’s banning of smoking in certain outdoor areas which came into effect yesterday.
Shaen Fraser, who is the community programs co-ordinator for the North West within Cancer Council NSW’s Northern Region, welcomed the milestone.
The new legislation means children’s playgrounds, public transport stops and stations, sporting fields, public swimming pool complexes and entrances to NSW public buildings all become smoke-free zones.
If you get caught lighting up, it will cost you a $550 on-the-spot fine.
From 2015, the ban on smoking will extend to all commercial outdoor dining areas.
The new tobacco laws introduced in August 2012 by NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner came into effect yesterday and protect people from harmful second-hand tobacco smoke.
Mrs Fraser praised the NSW government for acting upon the needs of the community by implementing laws that reflect changing social attitudes and community expectations about smoking.
“We know that people across the North West will be delighted with the introduction of smoke-free outdoor areas,” she said.
“These new measures will protect children, parents and the whole community from toxic, second-hand smoke.
“The reality is breathing second-hand smoke is not just an unpleasant experience, it can also lead to some serious life-threatening health problems including cancer, heart disease and asthma. The new laws will be a help in reducing community exposure to second-hand smoke and reduce the likelihood of future generations taking up smoking. This is a big step for public health in NSW. Smoking is still one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in Australia, with more than 15,000 Australians dying from tobacco-related illnesses each year.”
Her comments follow Heart Foundation cardiovascular health director Julie Anne Mitchell’s remarks welcoming the new laws.