Smokers fined in western Sydney for lighting up

18 Dec 2014

Fines have been issued to 25 people across the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) who failed to comply with smoking bans.

The penalties were part of a state-wide smoking hot-spots focus between May and October this year involving visits to 1107 sites throughout NSW.

A total of 205 fines and 495 cautions were issued across the State to people who failed to comply with smoking bans in public outdoor areas, under the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000.

In WSLHD, NSW Health authorised inspectors visited 63 sites and issued 25 on-the-spot fines of $300, and 34 cautions.

Penalties were most frequently issued to people smoking in public transport settings including bus stops and train station platforms.

WSLHD’s director of Population Health Dr Stephen Corbett said enforcement activity is addressed smoking hot-spots where compliance with the law was lower.

“We provide education to the public and work with local councils, site and building owners to put up No Smoking signs,” he said.

“Most people want to do the right thing and when they are aware of the legislation they put out their cigarette and move on.

NSW Health inspectors reported a 98 per cent compliance with the smoke-free legislation in WSLHD, with 61 people out of 3,508 found to be smoking in prohibited places.

Dr Corbett said WSLHD would continue to focus on areas where there was lower compliance with smoking bans, such as some train stations, public buildings and bus shelters.

“There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke,” he said.

“Creating smoke-free outdoor areas can support those who have quit and who are trying to quit.”

“The NSW Government’s continued work in compliance and education will pave the way for the introduction of smoke-free outdoor dining in mid-2015.

“From July 6 2015 it will be against the law to smoke in a seated commercial outdoor eating area while food is being served,” Dr Corbett said.

“A public notice campaign about smoke-free outdoor dining will run in 2015.”

If people think a smoking ban has been broken, they can help direct enforcement and education efforts by contacting NSW Health at www.health.nsw.gov.au/smokefree

For further information about NSW Health smoke-free legislation call the Tobacco Information Line on 1800 357 412 or visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/smoke-free.