Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 3 April 2008) . . Page.. 955 ..
MS MacDONALD: My question, through you, Mr Speaker, is to Ms Gallagher in her capacity as Minister for Health. Minister, I note the comment today by the federal minister for health, Nicola Roxon, regarding the marketing of fruit-flavoured cigarettes to young people. Given the ACT government has already taken steps to ban these products in the ACT and that we are on the eve of Youth Week, what other steps can you take to reduce smoking amongst young people?
MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. In recent years, it is correct that we have taken a number of significant measures—this Assembly has—to reduce exposure to passive smoking in our community, including amongst our young people. In August 2005, under the previous Minister for Health, fruit-flavoured cigarettes—
Mr Smyth: How many ministers for health have there been?
MS GALLAGHER: There have been three, Brendan, not that many to get your head around—fewer than the number of leaders or changes to the shadow leadership positions in your party. Not that many! Not quite! How many have there been? Four of the remaining six! Mr Mulcahy was in the tent then, weren’t you? Not that many!
MR SPEAKER: The Deputy Chief Minister will come to the subject matter of the question, please.
MS GALLAGHER: He did ask. I should not respond to interjections, but there have been three health ministers over a period of seven years.
MR SPEAKER: Ms MacDonald asked the question.
MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Fruit-flavoured cigarettes were banned, by placing an interim condition on the licences for tobacco retailers and wholesalers. It is good today that we have the federal minister for health coming out and endorsing that approach and seeing what she can do across the country to discourage the marketing of cigarettes particularly targeted at young people.
We have also seen the Smoking (Prohibition in Enclosed Public Places) Act which has been in operation for some time and which prohibits smoking in any enclosed public place such as a restaurant, club or nightclub. The purpose of the smoke-free laws is to avoid exposing people to tobacco smoke in public places where the building is not sufficiently open to allow natural ventilation.
Also, under the minister for education, from 1 January this year, all ACT schools and their grounds became smoke free. From 1 April 2008, Canberra Stadium and Manuka oval became smoke free. Smokers are required to move outside the stadium and oval to permitted smoking areas within the grounds. This follows a six-week grace period from 23 February to give spectators time to adjust to those changes.
Those are significant changes. Anyone who has been to Canberra Stadium, particularly attracting large numbers of people for particular events, knows that the