Smoking laws across Australia
Laws in NSW now prevent lighting up in front of building entrancesi.The latest step towards reducing tobacco smoke exposure in public places, we take a look at the laws across Australia combating smoking's harmful effects.
It's an area of public policy that's dynamic, controversial, and quick to be implemented: the laws regarding smoking. The new laws in NSW, which came into effect on 7th January 2013, now identify a four metre smoke-free zone around building entrances, among other restrictions on smoking in public placesi. Other states across Australia are already implementing, or are considering the introduction of, similar restrictions on lighting up near building entrances and other public places.
NSW's new stance
In January this year, legislation that banned smoking in the following public places became enforceable:
- "Within 10 metres of children's play equipment in outdoor public spaces;
- Spectator areas at sports grounds or other recreational areas;
- Swimming pool complexes;
- Railway platforms, light rail stops, light rail stations, bus stops, taxi ranks and ferry wharves;
- Within four metres of a pedestrian access point to a public building."i
Licensed venues and restaurants are temporarily exempt from the four metre smoke-free zone outside public buildingsi. Enforced legislation will come into effect for licensed venues in 2015. The smoking in enclosed spaces ban was brought into effect in NSW on 1 July 2007 and smoking in a vehicle with a child present was made illegal in 2009ii.
Smoking laws in other states
While most smoking laws are the responsibility of State and Territory governmentsiii, there are some Federal laws regarding smoking that are nationwide.
These include the 2012 mandatory plain-packaging of cigarettes in Australiaiv, the illegalisation of tobacco advertising (Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1992)v, and the prohibition of smoking in: 'Commonwealth government workplaces, aircraft, airports, interstate trains, and federally registered motor coaches'iii.The Australian Government has taxed tobacco products since 1901vi.
Smoking laws in Queensland are extensive, and most have been in effect since 1 July 2006. Smoking is not allowed in all enclosed public places (it is only permitted in residential spaces), along with specific outdoor public spaces including beaches, children's play equipment, sport stadiums, within 4 metres of public (i.e. non-residential) building entrances, and at outdoor eating and drinking venues. In 2010 it became illegal to smoke in a car when a child under the age of 16 is present. In 2011 Brisbane City Council banned smoking in the CBD shopping strip Queen Street Mall.
A smoking ban on all enclosed spaces rolled out between 1999 and 2007, starting with indoor dining areas and now including workspaces, enclosed public areas and shared spaces, all pubs, clubs and casinos. Smoking with children in the car has been prohibited since 31 May 2007. The South Australian Government hopes to ban smoking in all “al-fresco" dining areas by 2016.
Under the Public Health Act 1997, public indoor areas and workplaces in Tasmania must be smoke-free. Licensed venues became smoke-free in 2006, and smoking has been prohibited in 100% of al-fresco dining areas since March 2012. Other outdoor places where smoking is not permitted include sporting and cultural venues and within specified distances of building entrances and ventilation systems. Smoking is also prohibited in a vehicle when someone under 18 years of age is present.
In 2012, Tasmania began discussing the possibility of eradicating smoking from future generations (those born after 2000), with the Smoke Free Generation initiativex. The initiative would make it illegal to sell cigarettes to anyone born after the year 2000x.
Smoking is illegal in enclosed public places, workplaces, outdoor areas at underage events, and covered areas of public transport stops or stations. However, smoking is permitted in outdoor dining and drinking areas in Victoria, including rooftops, balconies, verandas, courtyards, marquees and the footpath/street. Since 1 January 2010 it has been illegal to smoke in a vehicle when someone under the age of 18 is present.
The Western Australia Government banned smoking in the workplace (though not in hospitality workplaces) in 1997, in enclosed public places in 1999, and in indoor restaurants, bars, and clubs in 2006. September 2010 saw the prohibition of smoking in outdoor eating and drinking areas come into effect. In WA it is illegal to smoke in a vehicle when someone under the age of 17 is present.
Australian Capital Territory
The Smoke-Free Public Places Act 2003 prohibits smoking in an enclosed public place (in effect since 2006), in outdoor eating or drinking places, and at underage functions (both in effect since 9 December 2010)xiii. Since 1 May 2012, it has been illegal to smoke in a vehicle when a child under the age of 16 is insidexiv.
The Tobacco Control Act 2002 banned smoking in enclosed public places (including workplaces) and outdoor venues in 2003, in licensed venues and substantially enclosed areas from 2010, and in outdoor eating and drinking areas in 2011.
i NSW Government, 2013, New laws come into effect on smoke-free outdoor areas, http://www.nsw.gov.au/news/new-laws-come-effect-smoke-free-outdoor-areas
ii Tobacco in Australia Chapter 15: Legislation to ban smoking in public places, NSW, 15.7.3, http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-15-smokefree-environment/15-7-legislation#ACT
iii Department of Health and Ageing, 2012, Tobacco: Environmental tobacco smoke, http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/tobacco-envt
iv Department of Health and Ageing, 2012, Tobacco: Plain packaging of tobacco products, http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/tobacco-plain
v Department of Health and Ageing, 2012, Tobacco: Tobacco advertising, http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/tobacco-advert
vi Department of Health and Ageing, 2012, Tobacco: Taxation, http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/tobacco-tax
vii Tobacco in Australia, Chapter 15: Legislation to ban smoking in public places, Queensland, 15.7.5, http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-15-smokefree-environment/15-7-legislation#ACT
viii Tobacco in Australia, Chapter 15: Legislation to ban smoking in public places, South Australia, 15.7.6, http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-15-smokefree-environment/15-7-legislation#ACT
ix Tobacco in Australia, Chapter 15: Legislation to ban smoking in public places, Tasmania, 15.7.7, http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-15-smokefree-environment/15-7-legislation#ACT
x Darby, A. & A. Corderoy, 2012, Bid to ban cigarettes for anyone born after 2000, published in the Sydney Morning Herald, 22 August 2012, http://www.smh.com.au/national/bid-to-ban-cigarettes-for-anyone-born-after-2000-20120822-24liy.html
xi Tobacco in Australia, Chapter 15: Legislation to ban smoking in public places, Victoria, 15.7.8, http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-15-smokefree-environment/15-7-legislation#ACT
xii Tobacco in Australia, Chapter 15: Legislation to ban smoking in public places, Western Australia, 15.7.9, http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-15-smokefree-environment/15-7-legislation#ACT
xiii ACT Parliamentary Counsel, republished 2012, Smoke-free Public Places Act 2003, http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/2003-51/current/pdf/2003-51.pdf
xiv ACT Government: Health, Smoke-free, http://health.act.gov.au/c/health?a=sp&did=10152911
xv Tobacco in Australia, Legislation to ban smoking in public places, Northern Territory, 15.7.4, http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-15-smokefree-environment/15-7-legislation#ACT