June 17, 2010 - Authorities are already looking at implementing even stricter measures to target smokers. The next step could be forcing addicts to get their cigarettes on prescription, said Western Australia's (WA) first Director General of Health and prominent anti-smoking advocate, Dr. Mike Daube.
Laws passed by the state government last year, which come into effect on September 22, have tightened restrictions in WA. Bans include: tobacco product displays in retail premises (with exemption for specialist tobacco retailers); smoking in outdoor eating areas (with some exemptions; smoking in cars with children under 17 years present; smoking near children's playground equipment; smoking between the flags at the beach; forcing staff to work in designated smoking areas
Professor Daube, an expert on health policy from Curtin University, said anti-smoking groups will let those bans "settle-in" before setting new targets. "Over the next five to 10 years I think the question we have got to be asking is when do you phase out the commercial selling of cigarettes?,'' he said.
Professor Daube, who is also the Australian Council for Smoking and Health president, said smoking was still killing 1200 West Australians each year and 100,000 had died since the dangers of lighting up became apparent in 1952.
"If you put together the new laws we have here and the new federal activity, my view is we are the best performing state in the best performing country in the world," he said.
"Smoking is declining quite dramatically, we are down to 15 percent adult smokers and under 5 percent of 12- to 17-year-old smokers. When you consider that at one stage 70 per cent of men were smoking it's a big step."
Reference: The noose tightens around public smoking,
DAILE PEPPER AND KATHERINE FENECH, WAtoday,com.au, 6/14/2010.
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