NSW Health is reminding the community that from 6 July 2015, all commercial outdoor dining areas in NSW, including hotels, clubs, restaurants and cafes will be smoke-free, under the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000. This means staff and patrons of hotels, clubs, restaurants and cafes will be able to work and dine outdoors without being exposed to harmful second-hand tobacco smoke.
World No Tobacco Day (May 31) is recognised internationally to highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. With new laws in effect just over a month away it serves as a timely platform to raise awareness among patrons of the changes heading their way.
Western NSW Local Health District Health Promotion Manager Lyndal O’Leary said NSW Health is working closely with local businesses to help them get ready for smoke-free outdoor dining.
“Following strong public support locally to voluntarily go smoke-free early, health officers have been criss-crossing the west to help businesses prepare for the change.” Ms O’Leary said.
“It’s been a real team effort across population health, and the great thing to see has been how hard pubs and clubs in particular are working to ensure that they are ready for the new laws.”
Tobacco Compliance Officer Michele Singleton has been one of the team assisting business to make the change.
“While we do compliance testing, our preference is always to educate and change the behaviour. This legislation isn’t about punishing people for smoking; it’s about ensuring the vast majority of people that don’t smoke have access to smoke-free air.”
Health officers will be out monitoring compliance with the new laws from July, with fines of $300 for individuals and penalties of up to $5500 for businesses who ignore the ban. A public notice campaign about smoke-free outdoor dining has been running across the state since early May.
Businesses can register on health.nsw.gov.au/smokefree for updates about smoke-free outdoor dining and to order free materials including an industry guide and mandatory outdoor ‘no smoking’ signage.
For further information regarding NSW Health smoke-free legislation, including smoke-free outdoor dining, please call the Tobacco Information Line on 1800 357 412 or visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/smokefree
For information on how to quit smoking, visit www.iCanQuit.com.au or ring the Quitline on 13 78 48.