Local restaurants are reminded to provide smoke-free dining after two restaurants in Parramatta and Merrylands received fines for allowing smoking in outdoor dining areas.
The Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 bans smoking in some outdoor public places, such as restaurants, to limit second-hand smoke exposure.
Dr Shopna Bag, WSLHD Public Health Director said there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke.
“Second-hand smoke includes smoke from a burning cigarette, smoke breathed out after inhaling from a lit cigarette, and smoke from a tobacco water-pipe, also known as shisha or argile,” Dr Bag said.
“Breathing second-hand smoke can increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and other lung diseases. It can also worsen the effects of other illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis.”
For more than four years, NSW Local Health Districts have worked with local businesses to provide education about smoke-free dining requirements.
“In western Sydney, we’ve staged our approach to provide the community and businesses with plenty of time to adjust to the ban on smoking in commercial outdoor dining areas. Unfortunately, some business owners have continued to allow it,” Dr Bag said.
“We’ll continue to investigate complaints and provide education and support to businesses about the Smoke-free Environment legislation. Businesses and individuals who ignore the law are exposing themselves to a potential prosecution.”
Business owners who allow smoking in a commercial outdoor dining area face fines of $1,100 (sole trader) or $5,500 (company) and individual smokers caught smoking in a commercial outdoor dining area may risk a $300 on the spot fine by authorised officers from NSW Health.
The NSW Ministry of Health and Cancer Institute NSW are investing $17.3 million on tobacco control in 2019-20. This includes public awareness and education campaigns, quit smoking support, compliance and enforcement of strong smoke-free and retailing laws, and targeted programs for vulnerable groups with high smoking rates.
To lodge a complaint about businesses allowing smoking in commercial outdoor dining areas, anyone can phone the Tobacco Information Line on 1800 357 412 (English speaking line) or 13 14 50 (non-English speaking line). Or, record details using the online complaint form at https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/tobacco/Pages/let-us-know-reports-complaints.aspx
All complaints will be dealt with confidentially.