Smoke-free Outdoor Eating and Drinking Areas in South Australia
Submission from NSMA Incorporated to the SA Government, October 2013.
South Australia: Smoke-free Outdoor Eating and Drinking Areas
To: Simone Cormack, State Director
Drug and Alcohol Service, South Australia
161 Greenhill Road
Parkside SA 5063
From: Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc. (NSMA)
PO Box K860, Haymarket NSW 1240
Email: email@example.com Ph:0419-257-605
Thank you for the opportunity to comment and provide some advice on the Discussion Paper.
Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc.(NSMA) has fought for and defended the rights of all Australians to breathe air free from the poisons and carcinogens in tobacco smoke as well as fighting against killer Big Tobacco since 1977.
NSMA embraces such issues as the rights of the unborn child, child abuse, the right to breathe clean air, the right to live safely at home protected from outside nuisance and danger from neighbours, civil liberties, (smokers' right to use a legally available product but not where it may harm others), anti-discrimination, the right to workplace safety, and a right to government protection of those who cannot protect themselves (so-called Nanny State).
We highly recommend strengthening current smoking regulations, for the health and safety of all South Australians and visitors, and especially on behalf of all unborn, infants and children, frail-aged, and people with disabilities, who are the innocent victims, forced to breathe in the poisons. They are silent and helpless victims and have rights which are far more valid than those of people who claim a right to smoke anywhere because they are using a so-called legal product. Chainsaws, cars and guns are also legally available products but are subject to sensible restrictions.
Smokers may have the right to use a restricted but legally available product but not where it may affect others. Smokers' rights stop at their lips.
If you can smell tobacco smoke then the poisons are going into your lungs (and your family's lungs) and doing harm (Thoracic Surgeon, NSW 2009)
Australia's governments have known for sixty years that tobacco kills.
Tobacco kills more Australians than any other single product.
We call on all of Australia's Governments, to protect all Australians from this totally preventable epidemic.
By enacting smoke-free outdoor drinking and dining legislation, in a sensible and timely manner, (not delaying) South Australia's Government will make significant impact on this epidemic.
Health and Work Safety Impact: Tobacco smoke is a toxic air contaminant, harmful to workers and patrons and potentially triggering deadly heart and lung conditions including asthma. Workers (including pregnant workers) are especially vulnerable, being potentially subject to such harm for all of their working hours. They are usually reluctant to complain, for fear of losing valuable (albeit low-paying) jobs which fit in with their other commitments.
There is no safe level of secondhand tobacco smoke.
Human Rights: Everybody has the right to breathe clean air free from poisons. Governments have the responsibility and the power to protect this right. Clean water, clean air - everybody's basic right. Governments protect our right to drink, wash, and swim in clean water - they must accept the same responsibility in regard to clean air.
There is nothing normal about smoking.
Due to strong measures reducing tobacco advertising, and introducing plain packaging with graphic warnings, killer Big Tobacco has lost much of its impact to influence potential smokers, but smoking in outdoor venues boosts Big Tobacco's reach. Big Tobacco is simply keen to get young people hooked to make up the numbers who have died or who have quit. Smokers are seen "enjoying smoking" while dining and drinking outdoors, in popular and beautiful settings, giving smoking an air of normality, of smoking being an adult "grown-up" activity, and encouraging vulnerable and impressionable young people to take up smoking. Making outdoor dining and drinking venues smoke-free will eliminate this particular aspect of Big Tobacco's reach.
By continuing to allow smoking at outdoor venues, especially at places where smokers are comfortable, sociable and congenial, Governments are providing the perfect breeding grounds for Big Tobacco's young victims.
South Australia has this opportunity to not only protect everybody from assault in the form of the poisons in secondhand tobacco smoke but also from not allowing Big Tobacco the satisfaction of gaining more victims and increasing profits.
Quoting Big Tobacco: "We don't smoke that S**T, we just sell it. We reserve that right for the young, the poor, the black and the stupid."
Additionally, smokers who are quitting find it difficult to stay focussed on quitting when they are continually reminded by the sight of smokers "enjoying" smoking in normal settings.
Discrimination: By allowing smoking at hospitality venues, governments and proprietors are continually discriminating against anybody who cannot or will not (to protect their own health) tolerate the poisons in secondhand tobacco smoke. Smoking-allowed venues discriminate against workers and patrons alike. Some potential workers are simply unable to work where smoking occurs. Smokers are not being discriminated against by not being allowed to smoke at a venue - they could use the venue at any time for drinking and dining and meeting friends but, (rather like chainsaws or cars) simply not smoke there.
"The only thing that should be smoked in restaurants is the salmon".
Bad Economics (to continue to allow smoking.)
Non-Smokers make up the vast majority (84%) of South Australia's population, (quitting smokers are an important sector). The vast majority of the population not only hates the poisons, stink and visual impact of smoking, but also resents that smokers virtually "take over" the attractive and spacious outdoors of eating and drinking venues. Whether or not such outdoor spaces were originally constructed to cater for smoking (when finally smoking was banned indoors in 2007), proprietors should understand that it makes far better sense, economically, to cater for the whole population than to cater for smokers and smokers' friends who make up a very small (and decreasing) part of the population.
We query the figures which show average cost $1305 per venue - what are the potential net PROFITS over 5 years if a business goes totally smokefree? See Discussion Paper: "The estimated net cost of a full ban to businesses over five years is approximately $10.7 million or an average of $1305 per venue" - does this figure project for the potential popularity of smoke-free outdoor dining among the 84% of the population which does not smoke?
Smoke-free venues mean reduced cleaning costs, reduced fire danger especially in vulnerable bush settings or in timber and other high-risk properties, lower insurance costs and overall lower maintenance costs and, of course, healthier staff.
Many non-smokers stay away because they don't want their children to see smoking as a "normal" part of life or simply because they can't stand the stink of tobacco smoke and the sight of filthy ashtrays and butts scattered around a property, adding to environmental pollution.
No child should be allowed to enter any smoking-allowed area.
International Obligations: WHO (World Health Organisation) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: All of Australia's governments are obliged under this convention to continue legislating to protect everybody from the hazards of secondhand tobacco smoke.
(Big Tobacco thrives on confusing and complicated smoking restrictions.)
1. Definition of Outdoors: We are acutely aware of Big Tobacco and Gambling and Alcohol Industries' interference in constructing dodgy definitions of crucial legislation for their own purposes (viz. the completely nonsensical 75%/25% rule in some other states which means that a room is considered outdoors when 75% is enclosed). South Australia must ensure that any definition is one of true outdoors where tobacco smoke cannot be captured and where it affects nobody in its vicinity.
2. Designated Smoking Areas: (preferably none at all) Smoking-allowed areas should only be allowed if no staffed services at all are allowed. They should be set completely apart (at least 10 metres) from all staffed areas and from any area where children are allowed.
Unwarranted Health and Economic Delay (to 2016)
(Big Tobacco thrives on Delay)
We query the reasoning behind an unwarranted delay of three years between Discussion Paper and potential implementation of such important HEALTH-BASED legislation. We understand that the date was suggested back in 2011, with no cogent scientific or health basis for that date.
Some of the dangers in delaying this restriction to smokers (to 2016) is that many more young people will be exposed for much longer, some of them will take up smoking, everyone (workers and patrons) will be exposed to the poisons for longer, and smokers themselves will be less inclined to quit due to the comfort of their surroundings while smoking.
The Discussion Paper indicates very clearly that revenue is unlikely to reduce (p.4 2.3 "introduction of smoke-free enclosed areas of pubs and clubs in SA, showed that revenue did not reduce".) and (P5.3.2 "Evaluation of the introduction of smoke-free enclosed areas of pubs and clubs showed that revenue did not decrease.")
We therefore claim that the best solution is for totally smoke-free outdoor dining and drinking, primarily for the health and safety of workers and patrons but also because it makes good economic sense. Entrances and exits to all venues would also need to be designated smoke-free, with 10 metre exclusion zones.
We insist that the date be brought forward to 2014 - Some Local Councils in NSW have successfully brought in smoke-free outdoor dining within a six-month time-frame. It is a very simple measure to go smoke-free. The majority will see the benefit in going totally smoke-free, so others should accept that there is no place for smoking in the hospitality industry. Also, what would happen in a few years' time when there are so few smokers that the proposed walls would be redundant because smoking rates keep going down?
Smokers are already accustomed to being moved away from others to smoke. (Note the success of moving smoking away from indoor workplaces, out of public transport, etc.) Some even prefer to move away from their friends so as not to expose them and so as not to be exposed to others' smoking. Many smokers are aware that it is not pleasure which keeps them smoking, but addiction. Most smokers want to quit and this measure (not being allowed to smoke at cafes and restaurants) will definitely help them to quit.
We further insist, on behalf of all non-smokers, all smokers, and all proprietors of hospitality venues that, if an early date of 2014 is not promulgated, (most unfortunately for all except Big Tobacco and friends), all proprietors be informed in mail-out, mass media and other wide-ranging media, that they can legally go totally smoke-free immediately, and without fuss - i.e. that they are legally not obliged to provide a smoking space at all, that revenue will not decrease and that the change to smoke-free is totally legal and that they are encouraged to do so. Reduced licensing costs would be excellent incentives. Smoke-free venues can be achieved very quickly and simply by: putting up SMOKE-FREE SIGNS and TOSSING OUT ASHTRAYS.
Why should Government give this information?
Because Government is aware of the impact of any new regulations on hospitality businesses - these businesses are already swamped with information and new regulations about health, safety, wages, taxes, working hours, employment regulations, food-safety, environment, parking, entertainment, noise regulations, etc..
Make it SIMPLE for them. Tell them they can toss out the ashtrays, put up a few signs, and go totally smoke-free immediately.
IF the Government is unwilling bring the implementation date forward and/or to inform proprietors of this very simple alternative step which would increase patronage, improve tourism, increase revenue and reduce costs immediately, WE WOULD INSIST THAT THE EXPLANATION/REASON BE PROVIDED BOTH TO THE VOTING PUBLIC , TO THE MEDICAL AND CANCER-FIGHTING FRATERNITY, AND TO TREASURY.
In addition to Smoke-free Outdoor Drinking and Dining, South Australia's Government needs to urgently consider and legislate for:
The Tobacco-Free Generation (persons born after 2000) - as in Tasmania
Smoke-free Pregnancies (for the sake of the child)
Smoke-free entrances/exits to all public buildings.
Children not permitted to enter any smoking-allowed premises
Smoke-free Vehicles (all) for everybody's safety, less distraction, and less bushfires.
Smoke-free zones around all Children's Services and Medical Services.
Smoke-free Sporting grounds, training and events.
Smoke-free Retirement Villages and Older People's Services
Smoke-free Prisons and other Residential Institutions
Smoke-free Public Housing, especially Multi-Unit
Smoke-free Strata Properties, especially Multi-Unit
Smoke-free Stage/ Theatrical Performances
Smoke-free Public Transport Waiting Areas - (not simply the covered areas).
Smoke-free Public Events (Concerts, Fairs, Fun-Runs, Ceremonies, etc.)
This list is a minimum towards achieving smoke-free lives for all citizens of South Australia as well as to reducing smoking rates, and the death and disease associated with all aspects of tobacco use. There are still approximately 280,000 smokers in South Australia - exhaling an awful lot of poisonous smoke into the air, every single day, and potentially heading for slow and painful disease and death, as well costing billions in healthcare.
With widespread public knowledge of the dangers of smoking and with ease of access to alternative nicotine products, there is no longer any excuse for smoking to continue.
Margaret Hogge, President, NSMA Inc. October 2013.