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Should bus stops and taxi ranks be smoke-free?

By Charlotte Harper - 24 February 2017 9

Bus stop

Canberra bus stops, bus interchanges, future light rail stops and taxi ranks could become smoke-free zones under a proposal that would restrict smoking within 5m of public transport waiting areas.

The ACT is the only state or territory in Australia that does not currently have legislation to prohibit smoking at bus stops.

The Government proposes a 5m smoke-free buffer given the 9m recommended by a study published in the journal for Nicotine and Tobacco Research (2014), may not be practical for commuters waiting for transport, potentially resulting in commuters missing their transport or drivers not recognising a waiting passenger.

If the proposal becomes law, infringement notices of $110 could be issued to those smoking within the 5m zone under the Smoke-Free Public Places Act, though a discussion paper published by the ACT Government states that officers authorised to enforce the law would take “an educational rather than regulatory approach whenever possible”.

Minister for Health Meegan Fitzharris is encouraging Canberrans to have their say on the proposal via the ACT Government’s yoursay.act.gov.au website.

Smoking has been prohibited within 10m of public playgrounds and play spaces since late last year under the Smoke-Free Public Places Act 2003.

“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.

“This proposal would include banning smoking within 5m 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.”

The Health Minister said public transport waiting areas often attracted large numbers of people including the elderly, tourists and schoolchildren.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

The aforementioned 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 contribute your feedback, visit www.yoursay.act.gov.au.

Would you like to see a ban on smoking within 5m of bus stops, taxi ranks and future light rail stops in the ACT?

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9 Responses to
Should bus stops and taxi ranks be smoke-free?
1
Rollersk8r 10:54 am
24 Feb 17
#

Absolutely it should be banned! Banning smoking in shops, restaurants, cafes etc is the best thing the ACT Government ever did!

Forget the passive smoking – there’s nothing more selfish and despicable than the smoker who continues smoking until they’ve literally got one foot inside the bus – then flicks their lit cigarette behind them.

Banning it doesn’t go far enough. Bus drivers should refuse to pick anyone up that throws their cigarette on the ground immediately before boarding.

2
Holden Caulfield 11:25 am
24 Feb 17
#

Yes, I would agree completely with this proposal.

Rollerska8r has explained it pretty well, I think.

3
Maya123 11:32 am
24 Feb 17
#

Rollersk8r said :

Absolutely it should be banned! Banning smoking in shops, restaurants, cafes etc is the best thing the ACT Government ever did!

Forget the passive smoking – there’s nothing more selfish and despicable than the smoker who continues smoking until they’ve literally got one foot inside the bus – then flicks their lit cigarette behind them.

Banning it doesn’t go far enough. Bus drivers should refuse to pick anyone up that throws their cigarette on the ground immediately before boarding.

Similar to what you said, one bus driver commented to me why should he have to put up with smokers putting out their cigarette the last minute and then getting on the bus and breathing smoke all over him, which they do.

It’s the bus driver’s work environment and most people have smoke free work environments, so bus drivers should have that right too.

4
54-11 1:03 pm
25 Feb 17
#

Have you ever walked past the emergency department at the Canberra Hospital lately? Smokers everywhere, ignoring all the no smoking signs. These lowlifes don’t care, and unless there is strict enforcement, they will keep smoking.

At TCH, I have nurses in scrubs smoking in a stairwell with very big signs stating “STRICTLY NO SMOKING… Smoke from this area is affecting staff and patients in Medical Imaging”. Did it stop them from sitting in the stairwell and smoking during their breaks? Not at all.

So, the ACT government can put in all the feel good signs it wants, do all the “education” it wants, but smokers will always be smokers and care not one whit for the damage, mess and litter they cause.

5
Just about enough 10:32 am
26 Feb 17
#

As an asthmatic I know how difficult it is when passing someone who is smoking, but this is going to be difficult to enforce.
Also I have to say it is not always the passengers on buses who have been smoking. I can not tell you how many times I have gotten on a bus after the driver has had a break only to find the bus filled with cigarette smoke. Maybe try enforcing the no smoking rules where they currently exist before putting more unenforceable rules up for people to follow, after all who will that benefit if no one follows through.

6
bigred 3:39 pm
26 Feb 17
#

The no smoking areas are like the 40 km/h zones around shopping centres: totally unenforced. So why bother expanding either until something is done with the exisiting areas. The most in your face example I can think of is the area outside tch emergency, under the no smoking sign.

7
HenryBG 10:48 am
27 Feb 17
#

Maya123 said :

Similar to what you said, one bus driver commented to me why should he have to put up with smokers putting out their cigarette the last minute and then getting on the bus and breathing smoke all over him, which they do.

It’s the bus driver’s work environment and most people have smoke free work environments, so bus drivers should have that right too.

Right, because the 150 litres of diesel they burn whilst on shift isn’t producing any smoke at all, is it….

8
Postalgeek 2:24 pm
28 Feb 17
#

bigred said :

The no smoking areas are like the 40 km/h zones around shopping centres: totally unenforced. So why bother expanding either until something is done with the exisiting areas. The most in your face example I can think of is the area outside tch emergency, under the no smoking sign.

It gets better at TCH as I’ve witnessed at least one smoker choofing away outside accompanied by her oxygen bottle with nose line. Stepped onto the road in order to take a wide berth around that one.

9
Maya123 7:14 pm
28 Feb 17
#

Postalgeek said :

bigred said :

The no smoking areas are like the 40 km/h zones around shopping centres: totally unenforced. So why bother expanding either until something is done with the exisiting areas. The most in your face example I can think of is the area outside tch emergency, under the no smoking sign.

It gets better at TCH as I’ve witnessed at least one smoker choofing away outside accompanied by her oxygen bottle with nose line. Stepped onto the road in order to take a wide berth around that one.

The largest pregnant woman I have ever seen (I wouldn’t be surprised if she were expecting triplets she was that large) was outside maternity, puffing away on a fag. I felt very sorry for the babies; for the abuse of having their mother smoke during pregnancy, and if she cared so little for them that she did smoke, how much would she care for them once they were born. Poor babies 🙁 Abuse!

(But I do think the oxygen bottle beats this one. )

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