We are using this year's World No Tobacco Day (31 May) to call on local government authorities in regional WA to commit to protecting the health of their community by creating more smoke-free public spaces, following a 2020 survey that found that 83% of adults from regional WA supported or strongly supported creating more public smoke-free spaces.
Our Make Smoking History Manager, Libby Jardine, said that while significant progress has been made to reduce the impact of tobacco, it is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease across Australia.
"Most West Australians support the creation of more smoke-free public spaces in regional areas, especially those in regional communities that are popular with families," Ms Jardine said.
"Second-hand smoke increases the risk of health effects in children such as asthma, respiratory infections, and ear infections, and is even linked to behavioural problems and learning difficulties.
"Children and young people may be more likely to take up smoking when they see it as a normal behaviour among family and friends or the wider community."
Ms Jardine said local governments across WA have an important role to play in creating more smoke-free public spaces.
"The City of Bunbury is one local government who has already committed, as part of their Community Health and Wellness Action Plan 2021-2026, to expand the number of smoke-free public spaces in their community," she said.
"The City of Albany is another local government that has committed to protecting the health of the community by expanding the number of smoke-free public spaces, starting with the Centennial Park Sporting Precinct.
"We know from our research that creating smoke-free public spaces helps to provide a supportive environment for people wanting to quit smoking and those who have quit. Around two in five WA smokers report that creating more public smoke-free outdoor areas would be helpful if they were attempting to quit smoking.
"We urge our local government authorities in regional WA to listen to their communities and commit to increasing the number of smoke-free public spaces to provide a healthy environment for everyone."
City of Bunbury Mayor, Jaysen de San Miguel.
"Smoke-free public spaces and events create a safe and welcoming environment for the community here in Bunbury, " Mayor de San Miguel said.
"We will continue to prioritise these community health and wellbeing outcomes through the City's Community Health and Wellness Plan."
City of Albany Public Health Manager, Scott Reitsema
"The aim is to expand the number of smoke-free public spaces in their community," Mr Reitsema said.
"Our Smoke-Free Outdoors Policy ensures that the City goes the extra mile in creating healthier environments and ultimately leads to the reduction and impact of second-hand smoke.
"The City aims to protect the community, particularly young children, from exposure to this when they are outdoors enjoying our public spaces."
Our Local governments, public health and cancer prevention: Actions that will make a difference to your community is a helpful resource that will support local governments to incorporate the following major modifiable risk factor areas for cancer into their public health plans:
- curbing the rise in overweight and obesity
- making smoking history
- reducing harm from alcohol
- preventing skin cancer.
Download the resource here.
People who are thinking of starting their quit journey (or who would like to help someone to quit) can access support by:
- Contacting the Quitline for support from the Quitline counsellors:
- Downloading the free MyQuitBuddy app
- Visiting the Make Smoking History website
- Visiting QuitCoach
- Seeking advice and support from their GP, Aboriginal Health Worker, Telehealth service or pharmacist