As of Monday, people in Cobar and around NSW will be further protected from the harmful effects of second-hand cigarette smoke with the implementation of state wide legislation that takes smoking off the menu in outdoor dining areas.
The provision of the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 means smoking will be banned in any seated outdoor dining area of a restaurant, café or licensed venue while food is being served and within four metres from any pedestrian access point.
Enforcements include a $300 on-the-spot fine for non-compliance.
NSW Health has been responsible for notifying local businesses of the new laws by providing information packages to all venues serving food around the state.
Cobar Shire Council’s acting director of planning and environmental services Stephen Poulter said information of the new laws has also placed on council’s Facebook page.
“Business owners subject to the new laws have got a responsibility to enforce the new rules,” Mr Poulter said.
“Business owners can face a penalty up to $5,500 if a customer is found to be smoking in the outdoor dining area.”
Mr Poulter said council doesn’t have the powers to issue penalties or prosecute under the new laws (just like the indoor smoking laws for pubs and clubs).
“However, if we become aware of a compliance issue during an inspection, we will remind business owners of their obligation to comply.”
Mr Poulter said anyone can make a complaint if someone is smoking in a non smoking area, however it is recommended that customers firstly raise their concerns with the business proprietor before making a formal complaint.
“People wishing to lodge a complaint can contact NSW Health. NSW Health authorised officers will then investigate the concern.
Mr Poulter said Cobar Shire Council supports the introduction of these new laws.
“Customers that have questions about these new laws can contact either NSW Health or council,” Mr Poulter said.
Heart Foundation NSW chief executive Kerry Doyle said the organisation is very pleased to see these laws introduced.
“We are committed to driving forward positive legislative reform in the interests of promoting public health,” Ms Doyle said.
She said evidence shows that a non-smoker’s exposure to second-hand smoke can result in up to a 30 per cent increase in risk of heart disease.
“We are thrilled that smoking has been stubbed out in outdoor dining areas as there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke.
“It’s a breath of fresh air to know our campaigning is paying off,” Ms Doyle said.