Page 4814 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 1 November 2017
Earlier this year a public consultation showed widespread support of the proposal to establish five-metre smoke-free areas around ACT public transport waiting areas. The community is incredibly supportive of new smoke-free areas at places frequently used by children and their families.
It is through this initiative that we aim to further protect the health of the community and ensure that all Canberrans can enjoy our public amenities without exposure to second-hand smoke.
MS ORR: Minister, what impact can second-hand smoke have on a non-smoker in a confined space like a bus shelter?
MS FITZHARRIS: It is widely accepted that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. Studies have shown that in certain situations outdoor exposure to tobacco smoke can be substantial and air quality levels can reach levels comparable to smoking in enclosed spaces. People smoking at outdoor locations such as bus stops can affect their surroundings with second-hand smoke, and when someone is smoking at a bus stop other passengers are subjected to a mixture of thousands of chemical substances released in the form of second-hand smoke when tobacco products are burned. Second-hand smoke has been shown to cause coronary heart disease and lung cancer and has also been shown to cause respiratory problems in infants, children and adults.
The primary goal of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy is to reduce the prevalence of smoking and, as a result, reduce the eventual health impacts caused. Currently in the ACT we are proud to have the lowest proportion of smokers of any state or territory with only 9.9 per cent of people reporting that they smoke daily. Creating non-smoking zones within five metres of any public transport waiting area is another step towards strengthening our strategy and is further evidence of the government’s commitment to ensuring that those in the community who have made the decision not to smoke are not subjected to the dangers of second-hand smoke.
MR PETTERSSON: Minister, how will the government monitor and enforce the new laws which will ban smoking in Canberra’s public transport waiting areas?
MS FITZHARRIS: In addition to the new regulations, the government has introduced a public education campaign to generate awareness and understanding of the new smoke-free public transport waiting areas. Public messaging about the ban includes advertising on buses, posters and information pamphlets, and the installation of signage at bus stops and interchanges and at future light rail stops.
To further help Canberrans understand the impact of smoke-free areas, the government has erected temporary signage at the 100 most commonly used bus stops for the implementation period, to make sure that Canberrans are aware of the smoke-free areas and possible penalties.
Most Australian jurisdictions have also legislated to make smoking in public transport areas an offence. It is therefore a reasonable assumption that a person visiting the