If you love eating alfresco, you’re now safe to do it smoke-free, thanks to a new ban on smoking in commercial outdoor dining areas across NSW.
The ban, which starts today (July 6), applies to cigarettes, cigars, pipes and water-pipes. It will be enforced by NSW Health Authorised Inspectors.
Anyone caught lighting up while dining could now be hit with an on-the-spot fine of $300, while venue owners could face a penalty of up to $5500.
The news is a breath of fresh air for families, non-smokers and aspiring quitters, who have indicated for years that they’ve wanted such a ban.
“There is strong public support for making outdoor dining areas smoke-free,” said Dr Jo Mitchell, director of the NSW Centre for Population Health.
“A 2013 survey showed that 75 per cent of respondents supported banning smoking in all outdoor areas of hotels, restaurants and cafes.
“So it’s not surprising to hear that many restaurants and cafes that have already gone smoke-free and have found strong support from the community and particularly families with young children.”
Smoking Ban Is Great News For Parents
Blogger and café-writer Rebecca O’Farrell, said she was thrilled with the news.
“More often than not, the best place to sit with kids is in the outside seating area of a venue,” she said, “because they normally have more space, are more pram friendly, and are where the play equipment is.
“However if someone is smoking in that same area it is a major turnoff and you end up sitting inside where there’s more potential to disturb other diners.”
Rebecca said she gave up taking her family to her favourite club as the children’s playground was close to the smoking area and posed too much of a smoke hazard for her kids.
“Why that club ever made the two areas next to each was beyond me,” she said. “So from today we can start going there again!”
Protecting Non-Smokers And Smokers Alike
The ban not only protects the public from the dangers of passive smoking, but also discourages youth from smoking, and supports those who are trying to quit, according to NSW Health.
Scott Walsberger, Tobacco Control Manager at Cancer Council NSW, said he was thrilled with the ban.
“We know that there is no real safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke,” he said, “so we are delighted that second-hand smoke will no longer be a worry for patrons, staff and the NSW community,” he said.
“There was strong support from the community for these laws to be introduced and we have to thank all of our NSW cancer advocates who spent hundreds of hours meeting with their local MPs and local Councils outlining the strong support from the community for these new laws.”
Hotels, clubs, restaurants and cafes were given six months warning to get ready for today’s new law.
Manly’s alfresco dining areas have been smoke free for more than 10 years, thanks to the forward-thinking Manly Council. The council has reported an increased demand for outdoor dining spaces since the area’s smoke free policy came in.
And since the start of 2013, smoking has been banned in public places like swimming pools, train and bus stations, children’s playgrounds, sport venues and on the footpath near doorways.