New playground smoking laws mean $550 fines

SMOKERS who light up at children's playgrounds around New South Wales could be fined up to $550, under new state government laws, which take effect from next week.

The laws, a part of the NSW Tobacco Strategy, are part of the government's efforts to curb the $8.4 billion annual health bill caused by smoking.

Health Minister Julian Skinner celebrated the passage of the new laws through the Upper House in August this year.

She said despite falls in young people taking up smoking, and more adults quitting, smoking still accounted for 5,200 deaths in NSW each year.

Among the changes to take effect from January 7 were restrictions on smoking in playgrounds, public sports grounds and swimming pools, public transport and entrances to public buildings.

From 2015, the tobacco strategy will also be extended to include commercial outdoor dining areas throughout the state.

The plan aims to reduce smoking rates in NSW by 3% for non-indigenous people, and 4% for indigenous people in NSW by 2015.



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