Smoke-Free Outdoor Area Policies

Cancer Council Hunter Region office and the Heart Foundation Newcastle office are collaborating to promote the adoption of Smoke-Free Outdoor Area Policies to local councils.

Newcastle City Council has led the way in the Hunter and introduced smoke-free policy in alfresco dining areas in June 2006. They extended this in December 2007 and adopted policies to ban smoking in children’s playgrounds, sporting fields and venues and across all city beaches.

Port Stephens Council has followed the great leadership shown by Newcastle City Council and adopted Smoke-Free Outdoor Area policies in December 2008 in children’s playgrounds and council buildings. The Council is implementing their policies in a staged approach and will include sporting fields and venues, beaches, bushland, parks, reserves and alfresco dining areas by January 2010.

Cancer Council NSW and the Heart Foundation highly commend both Councils on their policy adoptions which are in the best interests of public health and safety and will provide residents and visitors to these areas with many health and environmental benefits. The latest Heart Foundation survey in June 2009 indicates that 58 NSW Councils have introduced some form of Smoke-Free Outdoor Area policy.

Cancer Council NSW and the Heart Foundation encourage all Councils across the Hunter Region to consider adopting Smoke-Free Outdoor Area policies as there is growing evidence of the serious health impacts of exposure to toxic second-hand smoke in outdoor areas where people congregate. We are available to provide briefing sessions to Councillors and Council Staff on any issues and information relating to the policies. We can also provide councils with assistance and resources for policy development and implementation.

After a briefing was given to Cessnock City Council in April 2009, the Council decided to extend their smoke-free policy at the public swimming pool and made children’s playgrounds smoke-free across the LGA in May 2009. Maitland City Council also received a briefing in April 2009 and later adopted a comprehensive smoke-free policy in a range of Council managed outdoor areas to be implemented in a staged approach. Lake Macquarie City Council was also briefed in August 2009 and later adopted smoke-free policy in children’s playgrounds, sporting fields and swimming pools with other outdoor areas being considered after further consultation.

A second edition of the Smoke-free Outdoor Areas Resource Kit for Local Government is now available which includes updated information, research evidence and testimonials to support Councils in adopting and implementing the policies.   The new version of the kit also includes a CD-ROM of useful information including cost effective approaches to signage, templates for signage and Council reports.

To view an online version of the second edition of the Resource Kit as well as the recent Heart Foundation survey of NSW Councils please visit www.heartfoundation.org.au/smokefree

Please contact Cancer Council’s Hunter Region office on (02) 4923 0700 for more information or to arrange a briefing session.

Tobacco Action Group

Do you have an interest in Tobacco Advocacy? If so, then why not join the Tobacco Action Group (TAG).

TAG is a group with more than 1500 members across NSW who all have an interest in tobacco control.

The aim of the group is to inform people about current tobacco control issues and activities and to encourage action. As a TAG member you will receive a bi-monthly newsletter containing tobacco control updates and issues for action. All members have the opportunity to receive training or attend conferences to improve their advocacy skills for effective lobbying. For more information go to www.cancercouncil.com.au/tag