Smoking will be banned on patrolled areas of Tasmania's public beaches from 1 December 2012 to ensure families and young children can enjoy themselves free of harmful tobacco smoke.
The State Manager for Environmental Health with the Department of Health and Human Services, Stuart Heggie, today alerted Tasmanians to the ban, which will be in force during the times beaches are patrolled by Surf Life Saving Tasmania lifeguards.
Mr Heggie said the initiative was part of the Tasmanian Government's suite of changes passed by State Parliament in March this year aimed at protecting people from second-hand tobacco smoke and de-normalising the habit for young children.
"From 1 December 2012, smoking will be banned between the flags at all patrolled beaches including Boat Harbour, Burnie, Carlton Park, Clifton Beach, Devonport, Kingston Beach and Scamander," Mr Heggie said.
"These beaches have been chosen because they are patrolled by lifesavers and therefore more likely to be visited by families who wish to swim safely.
"There is less opportunity for people in these areas, including lifeguards, to escape second hand tobacco smoke from other beach goers who smoke nearby.
"At other more secluded or less frequented beaches, non-smokers are able to move a considerable distance away from smokers so they are protected."
The inclusion of patrolled beaches as a smoke-free area is another step in the Tasmanian Government's changes which have been progressively coming into force this year.
Smoke-free areas have three main benefits:
• Smoke-free areas where people gather protects them from harmful second-hand smoke.
• Too many Tasmanian children grow up thinking smoking is normal behaviour. Removing the act of smoking from crowded public areas, limits how much kids are exposed to smoking and reduces the high number of young people who take up the habit.
• Smoke-free areas will make it easier for some people to successfully give up. A 2006 NSW study showed 54 per cent of smokers who had tried to quit found seeing someone smoking was a trigger to relapse; while 40 per cent said smelling a cigarette was a trigger.
Mr Heggie said Surf Life Saving Tasmania supported the bans, with its Surf Life Savers able to advise people not to smoke between the flags.
"This is an example of groups within our community working together to combat smoking and to send a message to our young people that smoking is not acceptable where they play and have fun," Mr Heggie said.
Smoking will be banned between the flags at the following beaches from 1 December 2012:
• Boat Harbour
• Carlton Park
• Clifton Beach
• Kingston Beach
• Port Sorell
For more information on public smoke free areas visit www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/peh/tobacco_control/smoke-free/why_have_smoke-free_areas
30 November 2012