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Smoke-free Environment Bill

Smoke-free Environment Bill

New laws strengthening the protection against smoke in the workplace are a step closer with the health select committee's report back to Parliament of the Smoke-free Environments Amendment Bill, Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor and Rotorua MP Steve Chadwick said today.

Mrs Chadwick is sponsoring the bill.

Mr O'Connor said the bill would make smoke-free schools and workplaces the norm by building on the progress already made through the Smoke-Free Environments Act 1990 and its amendments.

"Three out of four New Zealanders who don't smoke will soon be able to enjoy 100 percent smoke-free restaurants, bars, cafes and casinos without exposing themselves to unpleasant and harmful tobacco fumes. Workers at these premises will also be better protected."

The Bill will now be given its second reading in the House. It will extend the ban on smoking in workplaces to include all indoor workplaces where two or more people work in a common airspace, not just some office areas as at present.

Ms Chadwick said the proposed changes to the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 would play an important part in re-energising efforts to stop young people from starting smoking.

By banning smoking in schools 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the bill ensures that New Zealand children have good adult role models to follow. It is also an effective means of normalising smoke-free lifestyles.

The proposed changes to the act would complement other efforts to make sure people have smoke-free air to breathe in marae, kura kaupapa, and licensed venues.

While the Smoke-free Environments Amendment Bill is a member's bill, it is consistent with New Zealand's comprehensive tobacco control strategy contained in the National Drug Policy, Mr O'Connor said.

Ms Chadwick said the bill has been through a rigorous process that has included reviewing progress under the existing act, considering scientific research, consultation, and public submissions to the health select committee.

The bill's stance towards second-hand smoke was in line with a worldwide move to regulate smoking, Mr O'Connor said.

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