State Government to strengthen tobacco laws

The Marshall Liberal Government will act to strengthen South Australia’s tobacco laws, with a focus on protecting people exposed to second-hand smoke.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said disappointing statistics on passive smoking highlight the need to act.

A South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) survey of 3000 South Australians revealed 66.4% of respondents had been exposed to someone else’s cigarette smoke in the past two weeks, compared to 63% in 2016.

Minster Wade today announced that consultation with businesses, stakeholders and government agencies would begin shortly to inform the Government as it develops legislative reform.

“The focus of this consultation will be to strengthen existing public health measures designed to reduce smoking rates and protect South Australians from passive smoking,” Minister Wade said.

“A key issue for these discussions will be ensuring that outdoor dining areas are fully protected from tobacco smoke.

“While many local businesses do comply with current laws, it is clear there are a number that are ignoring no-smoking regulations.

“Early next year, broader public consultation will occur with the community.”

The consultation process is expected to examine existing penalty levels for breaching tobacco laws, consider increasing protections from passive smoking exposure – particularly for children and families near places like schools and kindergartens – and tobacco licence conditions.

“Smoking is harmful to the smoker and those around them and we want to ensure we have the right policies in place that protect non-smokers and prevent others – especially young people – from taking up smoking,” Minister Wade said.

“Broader consultation is part of a series of steps the State Government is taking to improve tobacco legislation in South Australia because we are committed to strengthening our tobacco laws to ensure all South Australians are protected in our shared public spaces.”

The consultation follows a review of the State’s tobacco control legislation which was commissioned by SA Health and conducted by Dr Chris Reynolds in early 2017.

The review identified a range of improvements to existing tobacco laws which would enhance their operation and make them easier for businesses to understand.

Over the remainder of 2018, businesses, stakeholders and government organisations can have their say on a number of legislative issues, including:

  • Smoke-free areas
  • Promotion of smoking permitted areas in venues
  • Packaging and labelling
  • Enforcement
  • Penalties

The State Government has already introduced the Tobacco Products Regulation (E-Cigarettes and Review) Amendment Bill 2018, which includes important public health measures to reduce harm associated with e-cigarettes and bring SA in line with most other states. The Bill is expected to be debated in Parliament next week.

The Reynolds Review has been posted on the SA Health website.

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