Smoke free areas: Does the ACT need to catch up?

THE ACT government is calling on Canberrans to have their say on whether public transport waiting areas, including bus interchanges, bus stops, future light rail stops and taxi ranks across Canberra, should be made smoke-free. 

No smoking sign at CIT

Minister for Health Meegan Fitzharris says: “Currently the ACT is the only state or territory that does not have legislation to prohibit smoking at bus stops.”

Similar smoke-free areas were established late last year under the “Smoke-Free Public Places Act 2003”, which prohibited smoking within 10 metres of public playgrounds and play spaces.

“This proposal would include banning smoking within five meters of all publicly and privately owned transport waiting areas, including bus and coach interchanges, residential bus stops, taxi ranks, light rail stations and train stations,” Fitzharris says.

“Public transport waiting areas often attract large numbers of people including the elderly, visitors to our city and school children.

“Being near someone who is smoking can expose you to harmful second-hand smoke and this exposure can cause a range of adverse health effects including lung cancer and heart disease.

“For children, inhaling second-hand smoke is even more dangerous and can lead to health problems, such as bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma. This is because children’s airways are smaller, and their immune systems are less developed.”

A discussion paper, “Smoke-Free ACT Public Transport Waiting Areas” provides information about the proposal to help interested community members to respond.

The consultation to by April 7. 

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