Jim McGinty

Jim McGinty

Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs

    Delivering a healthy WA - smokers urged to butt out in 2005

    1/01/2005 10:26 AM

    Patrons at pubs and clubs throughout Western Australia will have to butt out at the bar from today under new smoking restrictions introduced by the State Government.

    The start of the New Year also means smokers will be banned from lighting up at the entrances to State Government buildings.

    Health Minister Jim McGinty said an industry code of practice in licensed venues would restrict smoking within one metre of the bar from today.

    Mr McGinty said changes to the State’s Health Regulations announced last month would then see smoking limited to one room only in any licensed premises by November, 2005 and a total ban on smoking in all enclosed public places by July, 2006.

    “For all those people who made New Year’s resolutions to quit smoking, now is the chance to really make a go of it,” the Minister said.

    “The timetable of the bans means WA will be one of the first States in the nation to enforce a total smoking ban in all licensed venues.

    “The first step of making the bar area smoke-free is to discourage patrons from smoking and to reduce the exposure of workers to second-hand smoke, which can cause asthma, heart disease and cancer.”

    A recent survey conducted for Quit WA found that 58 per cent of smokers would smoke less if hospitality venues were smoke-free, while 31 per cent said they would quit.

    The same survey also found that 81 per cent of people agreed that bar and hospitality staff should be able to work in a smoke-free environment.

    Mr McGinty said to help pubs and clubs make the transition, there would be greater scope for licensed premises to use alfresco areas for patrons who still wanted to smoke.

    The Minister said the ban on smoking within five metres of State Government building entrances and 10m of air-conditioning vents applied to offices, hospitals, courts and police stations.

    “People shouldn’t have to walk through a haze of smoke when they enter a State Government building, especially places like hospitals,” he said.

    Where possible, designated smoking areas will be set aside outside Government buildings.

    Mr McGinty said the State Government had also announced sweeping measures designed to further restrict the sale and supply of tobacco products to children.

    He said changes to the Tobacco Control Act to be introduced into State Parliament this year included:
    • fines of up to $10,000 for people who sell cigarettes to children;
    • requiring retailers to check for ID when selling tobacco products;
    • banning point of sale advertising and limiting displays of tobacco products to one square metre;
    • restricting cigarette vending machines to licensed premises only;
    • regulating the sale and promotion of herbal cigarettes and prohibiting the sale of confectionary and toys that resemble cigarettes; and
    • introducing substantial penalties for false or misleading statements by tobacco companies or others on health effects or harm caused by tobacco.
    In addition, a report to be done by July, 2005 would look at ways of reducing smoking in prisons and psychiatric institutions.

    Mr McGinty said research showed that smoking accounted for about 19,000 deaths in Australia each year. An average of 1,500 of those deaths were in WA.

    In 2002, more than 14,000 people were admitted to WA hospitals with smoking-related conditions, costing the WA health system more than $60million.

    Minister's office: 9220 5000