No health inspector a major drawback to enforcing smoking ban

BUTT-OUT: An Orange City Councillor says more education is needed to combat smoking issues in the CBD.
Photo JUDE KEOGH 0721SMOKING

BUTT-OUT: An Orange City Councillor says more education is needed to combat smoking issues in the CBD. Photo JUDE KEOGH 0721SMOKING

BATHURST and Dubbo have a health inspector to enforce non-smoking legislation but Orange does not, which is not good enough says one Orange councillor. 

Councillor Neil Jones said legislation that banned smoking within four metres of a public building was useless if there was no one around to enforce it. 

He wants to do something about it. 

“I phoned NSW Health and they told me there were no inspectors in Orange so how can we expect any enforcement?”

“If this was enforced effectively you would have a smoke free zone in the CBD but the issue is the shortage of funds allocated for this,” he said in an Orange City Council meeting on Tuesday. 

“We need to lobby the state government for funding for education, signage and enforcement.”

Since the state government introduced legislation in January 2013 that forbade people to smoke within four metres of entrance ways, only one person in Orange was fined and 11 people were cautioned.

Post Office Lane is also a smoke free zone, there are signs but smokers do not pay them any attention, he says.

For that reason there needs to be money invested in an education campaign because Cr Jones believes, in most cases, people are simply unaware where they can and cannot smoke. 

Council delegates are going to the Local Government NSW Annual Conference in October to lobby other councils and lobby the state government to invest more funds in education and enforcement. 

NSW Centre for Population Health director Doctor Jo Mitchell said in a statement health inspectors could issue on-the-spot fines and NSW police could issue fines in “transport settings”. 

Only 100 fines across the state were issued by health inspectors.

Cr Jones said he was told by NSW Health staff that the health inspectors in Bathurst and Dubbo covered Orange but he did not know how often. 

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