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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 3908..

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.


Motion (by Mr Barr) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Tobacco products

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (5.53): Mr Speaker, I want to speak this evening about the use of tobacco products. As we all know, smoking kills and is still the single largest preventable cause of premature death in Australia. Tobacco has no safe level of consumption and every year more than 19,000 die due to tobacco-related illnesses.

The ACT government has been comprehensive in its approach to tobacco control and has introduced a number of measures intended to reduce demand, control supply and protect non-smokers. On 1 September 2006, the sale of tobacco from vending machines was prohibited and in October the Tobacco (Compliance Testing) Amendment Act 2006 was passed, enabling the territory to implement safeguards to prevent tobacco sales to minors.

Perhaps the most significant measure in reducing the community's exposure to environmental tobacco smoke was the passing of the Smoking (Prohibition in Enclosed Public Places) Act 2003. This act will come into effect on 1 December, next week, and will prohibit smoking in all enclosed public places. That will make a major difference to those working in the hospitality industry and will ensure that they are able to work in a safe, smoke-free environment.

It is hoped that this ban will have the flow-on effect of reducing the number of youths currently taking up the habit. For too long, smoking has been seen as the social norm. When someone turns 18, they are able to go to a club or pub for a drink and a smoke with their peers. By banning smoking in pubs, clubs and other public venues, people will be forced to go outside to smoke, therefore removing the notion that smoking is the norm for adults.

Most members of this place will know of my stance on smoking. Mr Speaker, I acknowledge your efforts in the past on this issue as well. But some newer members may not be aware that at least two of my relatives have died as a result of smoking-related causes and earlier this year a very close friend of mine almost died and had to have major surgery as a result of her long habit of smoking. As a result, I am very much opposed to smoking. In fact, I believe that a motion moved by me and passed by the Assembly in 2002 started the ball rolling on smoke-free pubs and clubs. I know that the bill that was finally passed was not mine and I know that Mrs Cross contributed to that debate as well, but I like to think that I played a small part in it.

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