WHILE the CBD ciggie nix has been hailed a success, the region still boasts one of the highest smoking rates in NSW, and there’s no plan to expand the ban.
The Cancer Council and Heart Foundation have wrapped up a survey of main-drag shops in Tamworth, Manilla and Barraba, gauging the support and efficacy of Tamworth Regional Council’s (TRC) CBD smoking bans.
More than 93 per cent support the policy while 61 per cent said they’ve seen less smoking in the streets since it was first enforced in November, 2015.
However, a recent submission to council by the Tamworth Cardiovascular Working Group highlighted the fact West Tamworth has one of the highest rates of smoking in NSW, second only to Mount Druitt.
Local Heart Foundation spokesperson Penny Milson said “we know that smoke-free ares help people to quit” and “they send a message to children that smoking is not normal”.
But its recent survey with the Cancer Council found there wasn’t much desire to extend local smoking bans.
“When we consulted with the shopkeepers, we asked should the boundaries be extended and it was a 50-50 split,” Ms Milson said.
TRC’s manager of regulatory services, Ross Briggs, said council wasn’t in support of extending smoke-free zones.
“We’ve got the mass-concentration in the CBD and it’s an area we can easily control,” he told The Leader.
“Places like Bridge St are a bit more open and there’s not as much pedestrian traffic through there.”
As the two-year anniversary of the CBD smoking-ban approaches, council still hasn’t issued a single fine to a non-compliant smoker, but it is set to roll-out even more signage on the streets.
In May, stickers were added to main street bins and soon stencils will be painted on the pavement.
The Cancer Council is currently pressuring the NSW government to tighten regulations on tobacco sales and reduce the number outlets in the state.
Local spokeswoman Dimity Betts said “de-normalising” smoking was a key to stamping it out in the community.
“It’s other things like de-normalising smoking and introducing smoke free areas like we’ve done in Tamworth,” she said.
“I think it’s just about keeping this work going, [with things] such as increasing the signage.”