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Issue #1448      24 March 2010

Time for Sydney Easter Show to go smokefree

Forty organisations representing parents, teachers, child welfare, churches, health and medical professionals have called for the Sydney Royal Easter Show to be made smokefree.

The Protecting Children from Tobacco coalition has written to the show’s general manager Michael Collins asking that smoking be confined to a small number of designated outdoor areas, to protect children from the known health impacts of second hand smoke.

Mr Collins has told the groups that there is not time to change existing policy for this year and has suggested discussion of possible change in 2011.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) first wrote to the Royal Agricultural Society in 2003 asking for a smokefree policy for the Easter Show. Its current no-smoking policy covers stands and fixed seating, in line with NSW legislation.

But Protecting Children from Tobacco groups argue that it should be extended to all areas other than a small number of designated smoking areas, clearly signposted and set apart from main thoroughfares.

Said Anne Jones of ASH: “The trend is for big family events and venues to be smokefree – including the RAS Show in Perth, Taronga Zoo, Carols in the Domain and many events under local council control.

“Rather than fall back on minimum legal requirements, we’d hope Royal Easter Show management would take a lead in protecting everyone who goes to this iconic family event.

“Show management received a written request for this change in December last year – and still has enough time to implement this policy.

“Smokefree policies are strongly supported by the public and are mostly self-enforcing. Signage is readily available, and can be supported by PA announcements.

“This is a reasonable request and there is good advice available on how to implement it quickly and at low cost.

“We’re asking the Show management to reconsider its position, end the delay and make the Royal Easter Show smokefree this year.”

Next article – Democracy for Sri Lanka

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