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22 September 2010

Western Australia leading the way in combatting smoking

Department of Health Director General Kim Snowball has welcomed a new era in public health with Western Australia's new tobacco laws coming into effect today.

First introduced into Parliament by Dr Janet Woollard as a Private Members Bill in 2008, and passed in September 2009, the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act 2009 will tighten restrictions on where people can smoke and on the promotion of tobacco throughout the State.

"Western Australia is leading the way in combatting smoking and this legislation will result in major health benefits for all Western Australians," Mr Snowball said.

"Not only will it help protect children from tobacco promotion and the harms of passive smoking, but it will also reduce smoking-caused illness, and help people live longer, healthier lives.

"Smoking kills more than 1200 Western Australians every year and remains the number one cause of preventable death and disease."

Mr Snowball said under the legislation smoking will be banned:

  • in outdoor eating areas
  • in vehicles with children under 17 years of age
  • within 10 metres of children's playground equipment in a public place
  • between the flags at patrolled swimming areas on beaches

Liquor licensed premises that are not subject to a restaurant liquor licence may set aside up to 50 per cent of outdoor eating areas for smoking patrons.

The display of tobacco products, packages and smoking implements at point of sale will also be banned.

Mr Snowball said he was encouraged by the many business and community members who had thrown their support behind the new laws.

"The Department of Health worked very hard with business owners, local government and the wider community to prepare them for the new laws before they came into effect," Mr Snowball said. 

"Western Australians are very supportive of this legislation and we expect a high level of compliance."

Mr Snowball said the Department would use a range of strategies to encourage and enhance compliance with the new laws including the provision of advice, education, formal warnings, or prosecution.

Media Contact:  9222 4333

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