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New laws ban lighting up between the flags

10/10/2012 GRANT MCARTHUR -The Australian

The State Government's beach cigarette ban willsee smokers hit with a $140 fine if they light up between the flags on any of the state's patrolled hotspots.

Even those smoking 50moutside the flags marking safe swimming areas will be breaking laws to be introduced to Parliament this week.

Health Minister David Davis said the laws were needed to send the message that it was not acceptable to smoke.

"This is about ensuring there is a message to children, to families, about smoking," Mr Davis said.

"The focus is on patrolled beaches because that is where the greatest number of people and families exist."

Councils will enforce the bans even though many have anti-smoking regulations, with fines handed out the same way parking tickets are administered.

Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland have beach smoking bans in place, with on-the-spot fines up to $200 and court-imposed penalties of up to $1000 for those lighting up on the beach. Mr Davis said few fines had been handed out in other states where experience had shown the laws were "self enforcing" and smokers ditched their habit when challenged by other annoyed beachgoers.

The legislation will be introduced to Parliament this week, with the laws in place before people flock to the sand for Christmas.


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