Council tackles smoking

THE expansion of smoke shops may be curtailed under a new plan to ban any new smoking-devoted premises in Vincent. 

In recent years cigar bars, smokers terraces, “paraphernalia” shops, and private club smoking rooms have applied to open in Vincent with varying success.

Last month councillor Jonathan Hallett won unanimous support for his motion to investigate ways to halt the spread of smoke shops.

It’d ban any new “smoking/cigar rooms, tobacconists, and other outlets whose primary purpose of the premises is where tobacco and other products to be used for smoking are offered for sale or consumed”.

Cr Hallett, a public health researcher, says “tobacco is no ordinary commodity; The tobacco industry is insidious. 

“It is an industry that actively manufactures and promotes a product that kills two out of every three people that use it exactly as the manufacturer intends you to. 

Insidious

“It is a global industry mostly consolidated into just five companies and has manipulated and obfuscated the evidence of health impacts for 70 plus years. 

“It is an industry that has no social license and it is entirely appropriate for governments to minimise, exclude and marginalise the industry – not individual smokers, the industry – for the deaths it has already caused and will continue to do so as long as it is allowed to continue.

“It is an industry that targets children and adolescents. It is an industry that exploits low and middle income countries. It is an industry that has fought scientists and attacked governments through the courts for acting in the public interest including our own.”

He said if smoking was only recently introduced there was no way the products would be approved for sale, and “the legality of tobacco is a historical anomaly that has ensured millions of people around the world have lost their lives and continue to do so. 

“Anything we can do to ensure that this industry doesn’t recruit new consumers and minimise promotion that makes it harder for smokers to quit is imperative.”

The council asked the CEO to investigate how the ban could be done and will get a report back in the coming months, and will also write to the state health and planning ministers calling on them to take action to reduce the number of smoking outlets. 

by DAVID BELL

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