Smokers could be limited to lighting up in their homes as the state government moves to ban smoking in alfresco dining areas (outside areas), covered bus stops and taxi ranks and sports stadiums. In announcing the latest push to reduce smoking rates in NSW, the Assistant Health Minister, Frank Sartor, said yesterday laws could be tightened to prohibit smoking in most crowded public places.
Mr. Sartor published a discussion paper that says consideration should be given to toughening the law to ban smoking in outdoor eating areas and near children's playgrounds, sporting grounds and public swimming pools. Bans on smoking could also apply within four metres of a public building. And the government wants to remove the smoking ban exemption for private gaming areas in casinos. "Perhaps the greatest challenge that we face on the tobacco front today is the mounting credible evidence of the damaging effects of environmental tobacco smoke," Mr Sartor said.
Australian researchers reported that 52 people in New South Wales (NSW) died due to passive smoking in the year 2007, including nearly 15 children under 15.
The purpose is to reduce smoking rate by 0.5% by the end of 2016 and 10% until 2020. Almost 17.25% adults in NSW are smokers. Therefore, in order to reduce this rate, such effective measures are being taken. As smoking is banned in NSW pubs and clubs, the councils have further banned smoking on beaches. "We have made great inroads into the prevalence of smoking in recent years through targeted prevention campaigns, legislation and enforcement activity", said Mr. Sartor.
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An active smoker is not the only one who is at risk, but persons in his/her surroundings are equally at risk and they have to face severe consequences. (U.S. Surgeon General Reports Indisputable Dangers of Secondhand Smoke Secondhand smoke can lead to disease and premature death in children and adults by Larry West, About.com Guide)
The Heart Foundation chief executive, Tony Thirlwell, said he hoped to see all crowded outdoor areas smoke-free by July. "Although we're pleased to see acknowledgment of the dangers of second-hand smoke, we're disappointed about the absence of any real commitment or action from this government," Mr Thirlwell said. "The effect of passive smoking is 80 to 90 per cent as large as smoking a cigarette yourself - when will NSW families finally be able to enjoy a meal outdoors without being exposed to toxic cigarette smoke? "Second-hand smoke (passive smoking, shs, involuntary smoking, sidestream. environmental tobacco smoke, ets) is a major risk factor for heart disease."
References: Home alone: smoke bans spreading to more public places, Alexandra Smith STATE POLITICS, The Sydney Morning Herald, 12/1/2010; Calls for Smoke-Free Surroundings, Submitted by Ria Pate, Topnews.us, 12/5/2010.
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