Canberrans are encouraged to have their say on whether public transport waiting areas, including bus interchanges, bus stops, future light rail stops and taxi ranks across the ACT, should be made smoke-free.
Minister for Health Meegan Fitzharris said Canberrans are encouraged to have their say on the proposal that would restrict smoking within five metres of public transport waiting areas.
Similar smoke-free areas were established late last year under the Smoke-Free Public Places Act 2003, which prohibited smoking within 10 metres of public playgrounds and play spaces.
“The ACT Government is committed to protecting the community from the harms of smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke, but we also want to reduce the normalcy and social acceptability of smoking behaviours, particularly for young people in our community,” Minister Fitzharris said.
“Currently the ACT is the only state or territory that does not have legislation to prohibit smoking at bus stops.
“This proposal would include banning smoking within five meters of all publicly and privately owned transport waiting areas, including bus and coach interchanges, residential bus stops, taxi ranks, light rail stations and train stations.
“Public transport waiting areas often attract large numbers of people including the elderly, visitors to our city and school children. Being near someone who is smoking can expose you to harmful second-hand smoke and this exposure can cause a range of adverse health effects including lung cancer and heart disease.
“For children, inhaling second-hand smoke is even more dangerous and can lead to health problems, such as bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma. This is because children’s airways are smaller, and their immune systems are less developed.
“I encourage Canberrans, particularly those using public transport services, to provide feedback on this proposal over the next six weeks,” Minister Fitzharris said.
A discussion paper, Smoke-Free ACT Public Transport Waiting Areas provides information about the proposal to help interested community members to respond.
The consultation closes on 7 April 2017. To have your say go to www.yoursay.act.gov.au.