Australian States each have their own separate smokefree legislation, but the provisions are becoming more and more consistent, as some of the original exemptions have been phased out. Smoking is banned in enclosed public places and workplaces in all eight jurisdictions, and only one allows exemptions for bars (licensed premises). A brief summary for each State is included below.
Queensland – All enclosed public places and workplaces, including outdoor areas where food or drink are served, and sporting stadiums are smokefree. Smoking is also prohibited within 10 metres of children’s’ playgrounds, within four metres of entrances to non-residential buildings, and on patrolled beaches. All outdoor areas serving food or drink, or where entertainers are working, must be smokefree. The only outdoor smoking allowed is in designated smoking areas that may not take up more than 50% of the outdoor area. It is the best legislative model apart from the exemption for high roller rooms in casinos.
Australian Capital Territory – Smoking is banned in all enclosed public places and workplaces, including high roller rooms in casinos. DSRs are not allowed. www.health.act.gov.au/c/health?a=da&did=10054021&pid=1128469653 In March 2009 the ACT Government announced it will push to ban smoking in cars where children are present after it received strong support from the community. ACT Health received 48 submissions in relation to managing smoking in cars where children under 16 are present, with three-quarters of respondents supporting a ban. Health Minister Kat Gallagher hopes to introduce more changes to smoking laws in the Legislative Assembly later in 2009. (GL NIMI 30 March 09).
New South Wales – Smoking is banned in all enclosed public places and workplaces. High roller rooms are exempt but this is reviewed annually. Some city councils have introduced very stringent restrictions on outdoor spaces, such as beaches and the areas surrounding playgrounds. www.health.nsw.gov.au/public-health/health-promotion/tobacco/legislation/index.html. and www.ashaust.org.au
Northern Territory – Smoking is banned in all enclosed public places and workplaces, but smoking areas are allowed in bars. Legislation was passed in 2008 banning smoking in indoor restaurants, pubs and clubs. It will be implemented in 2010. www.nt.gov.au/health/healthdev/aodp/tap/smokefree/index.shtml
South Australia -Smoking is banned in all enclosed public places and workplaces (November 2007), including high roller rooms in casinos. DSRs are not allowed. Since 31 May 2007 smoking has been banned in cars with children aged 16 and under. www.tobaccolaws.sa.gov.au Recent polls have shown strong public support for smokefree laws.
Tasmania -Smoking is banned in all enclosed public places and workplaces. DSRs are not allowed. Smoking is also prohibited within three metres of doors and 10 metres of ventilation intake units in non-domestic buildings. At least half of the tables in an outdoor dining area must be smokefree. Smoking was banned in cars with children under 18 years from 1 January 2008. http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/about_the_department/structure2/groups/chief_health_officer/population_health/units/public_and_environmental_health/functions/environmental_health/programs__and__strategies/tobacco_control/smoke_free_areas2
Victoria – Smoking is banned in all enclosed public places and workplaces. High roller rooms are exempt but this is reviewed every six months. www.health.vic.gov.au/tobaccoreforms/index.htm
Western Australia – Smoking is banned in all enclosed public places and workplaces. However, it is permitted in an enclosed public space used for a private function, such as a wedding. Smoking is also permitted in high roller rooms. In July 2009 the smoking ban will be extended to outdoor restaurants in the city of Perth. www.tobaccocontrol.health.wa.gov.au/home/
Preparation for smokefree legislation
Victoria provides a good example of preparation for smokefree legislation. Examples of TV ads, brochures, posters etc can be found at www.health.vic.gov.au/tobaccoreforms/media.htm
Smokefree resources available in 2009
Australian tobacco legislation summary www.ashaust.org.au/lv3/Lv3resources_tobacco_legislation.htm
Tobacco in Australia (Chapter 15 on smokefree) www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/
Guiding Principles for Smoke-free Public Places and Workplaces Legislation – from the National Public Health Partnership
Smoke-free Public Places Legislation – Examples of Core Provisions – from the National Public Health Partnership
Enforcement and compliance
Enforcement has varied considerably between states, but is high overall. Different officers enforce laws in different states. For example there has been little enforcement to date in Victoria. Although restaurants have been fined, no bars or clubs in breach of the laws have been fined.
(ASH Australia). There have been problems with compliance in outdoor areas of Western Australia.
Future initiatives and priorities
Northern Territory – pubs, clubs and other workplaces still allow smoking indoors.
Many states allow exemptions for high-rolling rooms in casinos.
Partially enclosed areas when crowded with people can be very smoky, putting employees at risk.
Loophole in the law in several states allows smoking in areas that are up to 75% enclosed (See www.ashaust.org.au)
Outdoor spaces – some councils in NSW and Queensland have implemented extensive bans on smoking in outdoor spaces This may encourage others to do the same.
First, say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. Health Service Food and Human Resources: Discount wholesale cigarette prices