More areas to become smoke free

MORE outdoor areas in the Mid North Coast are likely to become smoke free, with peak health groups pushing for stronger smoking bans in outdoor areas.

The Cancer Council NSW, along with the Heart Foundation, Action on Smoking and Health and the AMA are today launching new guidelines to local governments, on health, social and environmental benefits of established smoke-free outdoor areas.

The kit has been released as a part of today's 20th annual World No Tobacco Day campaign, in line with this year's theme of smoke free environments.

The kit recommends banning smoking within 10 metres of children's playgrounds, on sporting fields and facilities such as swimming pools and outdoor sports centres, at all events run or sponsored by council, and in alfresco dining areas on public land.

Already, the Coffs Harbour City Council has introduced a smoke-free grandstand at the BCU International Stadium, as well as an indoor smoking ban in all council facilities.

The move has support within the community, with a new Cancer Council survey finding 92 per cent of people surveyed supported bans in children's playgrounds, 85 per cent supporting bans outside workplace entrances, 80 per cent in sports stadiums, and 69 per cent wanted smoking banned in outdoor dining areas.

The survey, conducted on 2400 NSW residents, revealed that 54 per cent of smokers who had tried to quit found seeing someone smoking was a trigger for relapse.

Currently in NSW, under the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000, hotels and clubs retain an exemption from being totally smoke free. This exemption expires on July 2.

This means that enclosed public places in hotels and clubs along with all other enclosed public places such as shopping malls and restaurants will be totally smoke free from next month.

According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco is the second major cause of death in the world, and half the people who smoke today will eventually be killed by tobacco.

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