Are you a smoker? Even if you’re not, you may want to know about the smoking laws in NSW as they may affect you especially if you’re concerned about smoking in public places or smoking in the workplace.
If you’re a smoker, then the laws may prevent you from smoking in public places, in the workplace and other places. If you’re not a smoker, then the smoking laws may still be relevant for you especially if you find yourself in a public place or workplace and you want to make complaints about smoking in the area.
Smoking in Public Places
No smoking in enclosed public areas
In recent years, the NSW government has been clamping down on smoking in public places. Smoking laws aim to protect people from the harmful effects of second hand smoke. In NSW, smoking is banned in all enclosed public areas according to the Smoke Free Environment Act 2000 and the Smoke Free Environment Regulation 2007.
The list of public places where smoking is prohibited according to these Acts include hubs of public activity like:
- shopping centres,
- hotels, and
- community centres.
In addition, academic premises such as schools and business premises are also considered smoke free areas.
Smoking is also banned in other public locations like churches, theatres, libraries, and recreation centres. Public services like public transport, hospitals and childcare facilities also need to remain smoke free areas. However, smoking is still allowed is in the private gaming rooms of a casino.
Smoking banned for outdoor public areas
In 2010, the NSW government released a paper which suggested a few changes to the Smoke Free Environment Act in which the basic aim is to reduce the exposure of smoking in public places and workplaces even more, especially for:
- Outdoor eating areas
- Public playgrounds
- Public recreation centres
- Public swimming pools
- Public sports grounds
- At bus or taxi stops
- And almost 4 meters of any entrance of any public building (although at the moment licensed venues and restaurants are temporarily not included in this point).
The strategy to ban smoking in outdoor public areas has been gradually implemented since 2010. The reason why smoking has been banned in outdoors public areas is because:
- Children and families often visit these areas and therefore can be quite crowded
- Such places often limit the opportunity for people to avoid the smoke raised by those smoking around them creating an uncomfortable environment around them
- This will help many people who do not smoke in avoiding the exposure to second hand smoke
- It will help to create a more supportive environment for those who are trying to quit smoking
With the help of these changes, the Statutory Health Corporation and the Local Health District both are able to ban smoking on any kind of health related areas such as hospitals, ambulance stations and community health departments.
No smoking in commercial outdoor dining areas
From July 2015, smoking is not allowed in a commercial outdoor dining area, which means a seated dining area within:
- 4 metres of a seated dining area on licensed premises, restaurant or café, or
- 10 metres of a food fair stall.
However, this law does not stop licensed premises and restaurants from creating designated outdoor smoking areas, but those areas need to be at least 4 metres away from the regular seated dining area.
NSW Health Authorised Inspectors are the ones who will enforce the ban on smoking in commercial outdoor dining areas. They can issue fines on the spot of $300 to people who smoke in a commercial dining area.
If a NSW Health Authorised Inspector finds a person smoking in a commercial outdoor dining area, they can also penalise the relevant business owners up to $5,500.
Laws on smoking in the workplace
Bans on smoking in the workplace depends largely on the relevant legislation and the policies that apply to the company itself. A workplace can be any place where work is carried out, such as a bus, train, office or even a factory.
According to many different workplace health and safety laws, it is the duty of the employer to create a healthy and safe working environment for all of the employees from any kind of illnesses or injuries that may occur in a workplace. So while there may not be any specific laws or policies to ban smoking in a workplace, the workplace health and safety laws may apply especially as cases of smoking in the workplace may cause harm to other employees.