Smoking bans in Australia coming soon

An upcoming smoking ban in Australia is prompting a New Zealand group to ask similar bans across the ditch.

Under new sweeping changes introduced by Australia’s health minister, Jillian Skinner, diners in New South Wales will not be able to smoke in public dining places across the state.

The new NSW Tobacco Strategy legislation will ban smoking from  not only pub beer gardens, but also from sports grounds, swimming pools, bus and train stops and even in building doorways.

Pubs may have to create designated ‘no food’ areas for smoking or prohibit food from beer gardens so as to prevent diners from inhaling second-hand smoke.

New Zealand Cancer Society’s Smokefree Advisor, Skye Kimura thinks it is only a matter of time before New Zealand introduces similar bans.

"Apart from smoking, I don't think I have any other bad habit,” Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan

“This is a good example for New Zealand to follow and there is evidence that people are in favour of such legislation.”

A recent Cancer Council Victoria survey indicated 70% of the 4500 respondents supported a ban on smoking in outdoor dining areas. “We know we have the same support here.”

New Zealand’s Smokefree group is already working with Andrew Brown – a member of the NSW Smokefree outdoor area working group.  “He is in New Zealand now to support our Outdoor Smokefree Forum, and he has been giving us some very good advice.

The Cancer Society wants to pursue this type of legislation to protect children.  “Further restrictions on smoking are crucial because the more children are exposed to adults smoking around them, the more they start to see smoking as normal.”

While overall smoking numbers in New Zealand’s Indian community are lower than the national average,  it is the second-hand smoke (passive smoking) that is concerning to anti-smoking groups.  As many as 26%  of Asian youth have parents who smoke. However, smoking in the home is more common in South-East Asian homes (23%) than Korean (18%), Chinese  (17%) or South-Asian (Indian) homes (6%).

There’s huge disparity in smoking rates among ethnic populations. Sri Lankans have recorded one of the lowest smoking rates in New Zealand – just 4%, compared to a national average of 21% (2009 figures).

At the end of the spectrum are Māori with 45% smokers, followed by Pacific Island peoples at 30%.  Māori and Pacific Island peoples make up 22% of the population yet account for 31% of all smokers in New Zealand.

People who live in the most deprived areas are one and half times more likely to smoke than those in the least deprived areas.

“As a preventative measure, the NZ government implements a range of tobacco control strategies, from legislation for smokefree areas to warning labels on cigarette packets,” says the Cancer Society. “One strategy is to increase the price of tobacco by raising the excise tax on tobacco products.”

Such measures seem to be showing results, as around one in five (18%) youth aged 15–19 years were current smokers, a significant decrease from 22.9% in 2006.

Interestingly, gender statistics separate Asian groups from other groups. Only 4%  of Asian girls (aged 14 -15)  and 8% of Asian boys smoke regularly. This is different from European, Maori and Pacific Island youth where more girls than boys smoke.

Family factors such as non-smoking parents and positive relationships with family protect New Zealand Asian youth from smoking, according to findings of a national survey (2008) by  Wong, Ameratunga, Garrett, Robinson and  Watson , titled “Family influences, acculturation, and the prevalence of tobacco smoking among Asian youth in New Zealand.”

Smoking rates among Asians in New Zealand

Chinese 11% (Female 5  Male 19)
Indian 8% (Female 3 Male 13)
Korean 14% (Female 5 Male 24)
Japanese 14% (Female 10 Male 22)
Cambodian 10% (Female 4 Male  17)
Filipino 9% (Female 5 Male 15)
Sri Lankan 4% (Female 1 Male 7)



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