Parliament: Speeches on Bills

Tobacco Products Regulation (Futher Restrictions) Amendment Bill

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I rise briefly to support this bill. Dignity for Disability strongly supports this bill because, as we all know, smoking is the cause of so much preventable disability, and the smokers themselves are not the only victims. I note that, while we have had many successful antismoking public health campaigns in this state, unfortunately statistics produced by the Drug and Alcohol Services of South Australia (DASSA) show that more than 20 per cent of people aged over 15 years still smoke.

Smoking tobacco is highest among 15 to 59-year olds, most particularly in the 30 to 44-year-old age bracket, at 25 per cent, precisely when people are likely to become parents for the first time if they so choose. Of course, they then have to become role models for those young children.

Smoking tobacco leads to chronic and terminal illnesses, such as mouth, throat and lung cancer and emphysema, and often worsens or delays recovery from a multitude of other illnesses, including asthma or other respiratory conditions. I would seek to enhance the model of protection for children at work (and of course we should note that a child’s work is play), just as most adults are now protected from smoking in their workplaces, by extending the clean air zone model to events that are essentially child-friendly events.

I speak of great South Australian institutions, such as our Christmas Pageant and the Royal Adelaide Show, to name just two. Why should adults be permitted to smoke at events that are so quintessentially linked to childhood in this state? That smoking is yet to be stamped out on our railway platforms and our bus stops seems remarkable. It may surprise those who are not regular patrons of our public transport to know that it is not unusual to see a bus driver take the last drag of their fag on the footpath, board the bus and exhale the second-hand tobacco smoke as they move past the ticket validating machine.

By keeping our bus stops clear of smoke we will keep our buses clear of smoke, and such clean air zones will be applied to bus drivers who are also known to smoke outside of their bus at terminus stops with the doors open, meaning that passengers can often board a smoky bus. For children and people with multiple chemical sensitivity, for example, being subjected to cigarette smoke on public transport is not only a great shame but puts their long-term health at imminent risk.

I note the example the Hon. Ms Franks gave in her speech of a constituent with cystic fibrosis who often struggled to get into hospital in a timely manner because people were smoking on those premises. It is a very similar situation for people who experience multiple chemical sensitivity in that, if they are exposed to passive tobacco smoking, they can not only experience immediate exacerbation of their condition but also at times be bedridden for days and perhaps weeks.

This is a worthwhile piece of legislation for people who experience that condition. So I will be pleased to see this outlawed with the passing of this legislation. South Australia has been at the forefront of tobacco law reform in the past and we can take the lead again. I believe that this must happen. With those brief words, I strongly support the bill.