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April 5th, 2009:

Australia: Tough Anti-tobacco Laws From July 1

April 5, 2009

People in NSW caught smoking in cars in front of children will soon face fines of A$250 under tough new tobacco laws.

NSW minister assisting the minister for health on cancer Jodi McKay says the laws, which also regulate the way cigarettes are displayed in shops, will come into effect on July 1.

Ms McKay said the new laws would prevent children from being exposed to tobacco use.

“Smoking continues to be the greatest single cause of premature death in NSW and we are demonstrating leadership in protecting children and young people from the harmful effects of tobacco,” she said in a statement on Sunday.

“We refuse to be complacent about tobacco control, particularly the use of tobacco products around children.

Under the laws, NSW Police can issue motorists with an A$250 on-the-spot fine if they are caught smoking in front of passengers aged under 16.

The new laws also mean retailers must keep all tobacco products out of sight, vending machines will be restricted to licensed premises and tobacco companies will be banned from sponsoring sporting events.

Retailers who sell cigarettes to children or breach other regulations may be stopped from selling tobacco products.

NSW Cancer Council chief executive Andrew Penman said the changes meant the state was among world leaders in tobacco control.

“This is a strong package of reforms that will have an immediate benefit for the community, especially children,” Dr Penman said.

Shops with more than 50 employees will have six months to implement the display ban, while retailers who employ less than 50 people have a year to comply.

Tobacconists who generate 80 per cent of turnover from tobacco-related sales have 12 months to register as a specialist business to have a further three years to comply with the ban.

Ms McKay said retailers would have time to get used to the new laws, with draft regulations detailing the changes released on Monday as part of a month-long public consultation process.

NSW Health will work with retailers to help them phase out cigarette displays.

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