NSW Labor has introduced legislation into State Parliament to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public smoking-free areas - removing a loophole.
This morning NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord introduced the Smoke-free Environment Amendment (E-cigarettes) Bill 2017 into the NSW Parliament's Legislative Council.
The move followed calls by almost 25 professional bodies and health organisations, including the Heart Foundation, Cancer Council NSW, AMA NSW, Asthma Australia and the Australian Dental Association to ban the use of e-cigarettes in smoke-free areas.
In May 2015, the Liberal-National State Government passed laws to restrict e-cigarettes in relation to minors and it came into effect on December 1, 2015.
It is also an offence to "vape" in a car carrying a child. This carries an on-the-spot fine of $250.
However, the State Government rejected Labor's amendments requiring e-cigarettes to be the subject of restrictions similar to cigarettes, such as "vaping" in prohibited areas - whether or not they contain nicotine.
At the moment "vaping" is banned on plane flights but it is permissible in schools, offices, cafes, shopping centres, restaurants, swimming pools, sporting events and on public transport in NSW.
The Labor legislation would bring NSW into line with Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT - which treat e-cigarettes similar to cigarettes.
The proposed legislation will carry penalties of up to $550.
Mr Secord said he hoped the Berejiklian Government would adopt the legislation as it had broad community support and plugged a loophole in the current laws.
Mr Secord said: "E-cigarettes should not be allowed indoors and in other venues where smoking is restricted like shopping centres. This plugs a strange and inconsistent loophole and brings e-cigarettes into line with cigarettes, which makes sense.
"While there is still debate on the effectiveness of e-cigarettes and whether they are a gateway to smoking or they move people away from smoking, they should at least have the same restrictions as cigarettes - especially in regard to smoke-free areas.
"This Bill will get rid of the bizarre and absurd situation where people could potentially use e-cigarettes in schools, on buses and in workplaces, with no evidence about whether they were safe.
"This is also about supporting the hard fought gains in the fight against tobacco. We also have to look at ways to prevent the normalisation of smoking in NSW - and this extends to e-cigarettes."
Should smoking e-cigarettes be banned in public places?
This poll ended on 24 November 2017.
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