The New South Wales state government will look to introduce legislation to parliament to ban smoking in a variety of public spaces including playgrounds, swimming pools and transport stops.
In an announcement by state health minister Jillian Skinner today (February 21), the NSW Tobacco Strategy will also will include a smoking ban in commercial outdoor dining areas from 2015.
"The distress and cost that smoking inflicts on families, and the burden this imposes on NSW’s health system, is simply not acceptable," she said.
According to the state government, smoking-related illness accounts for around 5,200 deaths and 44,000 hospitalisations per year in NSW, at a cost of approximately $8 billion to its economy each year.
Some Australians may wish to use the planned ban as an incentive to quit smoking altogether – and those with private health insurance may be able to access lifestyle management programs to help them do so.
The NSW Cancer Council has welcomed the move, with chief executive Andrew Penman telling the ABC today that the legislation will give the non-smoking members of the community more choice in whether they are exposed to smoke.
"The important principle is that the measures are aimed at protecting people from being exposed in places where they are involuntarily present," he said.