Council smoking ban praised
BYRON Council's decision to ban smoking in playgrounds, sport events and outdoor dining areas has won praise from the Heart Foundation.
The foundation's CEO Tony Thirlwell said the policy protected people from exposure to harmful second-hand tobacco smoke.
Mr Thirlwell said smoking was the largest single preventable cause of death in Australia killing more than 15,000 people a year.
He said evidence showed that a non-smoker's exposure to second-hand smoke could result in up to a 30% increase risk in heart disease.
Byron Mayor Cr Jan Barham said the council had listened to the community's voice when voting to introduce a smoke-free outdoor areas policy.
Cr Barham said submissions and survey results from the public exhibition were very supportive.
She said the policy also limited smoking at bus stops and taxi ranks, along with all council-owned and managed buildings, events and car parks.
"The objective of the policy was to improve the community's health, raise awareness of issues associated with smoking, improve public amenity and minimise butt pollution on council owned open spaces," she said.
Cr Barham said the council had an on-the-ground leadership role to promote public health outcomes and a commitment to improve the natural environment and amenity of the shire's towns and villages.
She said the shire has an extremely active sporting community with a growing number of young people involved each year.
The banning of smoking at sports fields would help protect young people from the impact of smoking and limit their exposure to the example of people smoking, she said.
She urged residents and visitors to embrace the new smoke-free self regulation and consider where they next "light up".
Sandra Rowan from Cancer Council's Far North Coast office is "delighted the council has taken this crucial step to protect children, parents and the whole community from toxic second-hand smoke".
Ms Rowan said breathing second-hand smoke was not just an unpleasant experience, it could also lead to some serious health problems including heart disease, cancer and asthma.
Smoke-free outdoor areas
- Within 10m of all children's playground equipment.
- On all playing fields, public swimming pools.
- At all events run, or sponsored, by the council.
- In alfresco dining areas on public land.
- Within 10m of council-owned or managed buildings.
- In all covered bus stops and taxi ranks.
- In council car parks.