A recent survey has found that smoke is definitely off the menu in alfresco dining areas in many Bathurst restaurants, cafés and takeaway businesses.
Proprietors have reported that there has been great support from customers to ban smoking in outside dining areas and that many smokers are lighting up and smoking well away from other people. Staff are happier too.
“I don’t want to subject the general community, especially children and older people to second-hand smoke”, said Maureen Lewis, proprietor of Annie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour.
“I think customers appreciate being in a smoke-free environment while they are enjoying their ice creams and I’ve not experienced any downturn in business since going smoke-free”.
Similar surveys have been conducted in Orange, Dubbo and Broken Hill as part of an initiative to inform businesses with outdoor dining areas about the impact of second-hand smoke and the need to make outdoor areas where the public gather smoke-free. Information kits are also being distributed as part of the campaign.
More than half of the businesses approached in Bathurst have already adopted the ban on smoking. Others are planning to go smoke-free on 30 November 2013. This will prepare patrons for the day when smoking restrictions around outdoor dining areas become law across NSW.
On 6 July 2015 changes to the NSW law come into effect where smoking will be banned in commercial outdoor dining areas. Smoke-free areas being:
- A seated dining area - an area in which seating is provided and in which food that has been purchased and served on plates or packaged for immediate consumption is consumed - but only while food is being consumed or is available for purchase and consumption there.
- Within 4 metres of a seated dining area on licensed premises or at a restaurant.
- Within 10 metres of a place at a food fair where food is sold or supplied for consumption.
There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. This is the smoke which smokers exhale after inhaling from a lit cigarette. Recent research has shown individuals in typical public outdoor areas such as alfresco cafes may be exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke levels previously only associated with indoor environments.
In adults, breathing second-hand tobacco smoke can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and other lung diseases. It can exacerbate the effects of other illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis.
Exposing ex-smokers to other people’s tobacco smoke increases the chance of relapsing to smoking.
For children, inhaling second-hand tobacco smoke is even more dangerous. This is because children’s airways are smaller and their immune systems are less developed, which makes them more likely to suffer negative health consequences of second-hand tobacco smoke such as bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma.
Smoke-free areas provide a supportive environment for those who have quit and make smoking less visible to children and young people.
“It’s going to save a lot of lives. We are ready to do something positive” said Sayeed Enayat from ISPA Kebabs in Bathurst.
A Tobacco Information Line on 1800 357 412 has been set up by the NSW Ministry of Health where people can find out more information about the recent changes to the law making a number of outdoor public places smoke-free.
For More Information contact: Lyndal O’Leary, Manager Health Promotion, Population Health, Western NSW & Far Western Local Health Districts on 02 6841 2370 / 0429 921 431 or email lyndal.o’firstname.lastname@example.org