By Clyde Mooney
In a tough week for the tobacco industry the State Government in NSW has confirmed new smoking bans will not affect outdoor gaming areas.
The new legislation, passed in NSW Parliament on Tuesday night, will ban smoking in outdoor areas such as bus stops, train stations, taxi ranks, swimming pools, within 10 metres of children’s play equipment and within four metres of a pedestrian access way.
These restrictions will come into effect January 7 next year, but will not affect existing outdoor gaming areas.
Many venues installed purpose-built areas to accommodate gamers, who are known to seek venues where they do not have to leave the machines to enjoy a cigarette.
Health minister, Jillian Skinner, describes the legislation as “ground-breaking” and forecasts further restrictions.
“We’ve moved gradually, step by step, until this point where we have this ground-breaking legislation. It will keep going.”
Venues will be required to adhere to a ban on smoking in outdoor dining areas, which will come into effect July 2015.
Under existing laws, smoking is allowed in gaming areas if at least 25 per cent of notional wall and ceiling area is not enclosed.
The new laws will also not apply to the Star’s high-rollers room, with the casino claiming that if visitors are prevented from smoking while gambling they will take their business to Melbourne’s Crown Casino, where they are allowed to smoke.
Tobacco manufacturers this week also lost a High Court appeal against the Federal Government’s proposed plain packaging laws.