City to tighten smoking laws

Talitha WolfeAlbany Advertiser

Smoking on Albany beaches and playgrounds could be prohibited in the next two years as the City of Albany plans to reduce exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.

Last year the City endorsed a public health plan which vowed to “reduce community exposure to environmental tobacco smoke through enforcement of tobacco legislation and regulation” by the end of 2018/19.

This includes extending smoking restrictions on all playgrounds and beaches, beginning planning for a smoke-free shopping precinct, and continuing to enforce legislation to reduce the access of tobacco to minors.

The City will begin the first steps of this commitment when the community and corporate services committee votes on a smoke free outdoors policy tonight.

Although the initial proposed policy would not prohibit smoking on beaches and playgrounds, it would ban smoking at all outdoor public spaces, access ways, and entrances of all City-owned and managed facilities and events.

These spaces will include the Albany Town Square, Centennial Park Precinct (including Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre), Vancouver Arts Centre, Albany Heritage Park and Alison Hartman Gardens.

Under the proposal, smoking will also be prohibited within 10m of doorways, entrance ways, and air intake vents of all council-owned or managed public access buildings, at all City-run events on its outdoor public places, reserves, parks, ovals and playing fields.

It would also ban smoking on active reserves and sportsgrounds during sporting and community events.

According to the report before the committee, the proposed policy aims to increase community awareness of smoke-free areas in preparation of further public space smoking bans.

The report also states 13.8 per cent of people smoke in the Great Southern and lung cancer is the leading cause of avoidable death in the region.

Smoking is prohibited on premises owned by or under the control of the City, such as buildings and open spaces.

If the proposal passes the comittee the City of Albany councillors will vote on the smoke free outdoors policy at the ordinary council meeting later this month.

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