Lane Cove Council has one of the Toughest No Smoking Policies – But Is It?

    Last year North Sydney Council was being praised for banning smoking in the North Sydney CBD.  It was called a bold move.  Lane Cove Council has had a smoking ban in place for a few years.

    This week on ITC Lane Cove Chat, one member mentioned that they had seen an increase in the number of people smoking in the Lane Cove Village.  This would seem to be backed up by the number of butts around the Lane Cove Village.  If you saw the number of cigarette butts, you would be forgiven for thinking that smoking is permitted in the village.

    Where is Smoking Banned in Lane Cove?

    The following are Smoke-free areas and the Council prohibits smoking in them:

    • Within four (4) metres of the entrance of all non-residential buildings. This applies to all of the shopping/commercial precincts in Lane Cove and any Council-owned building, where footpaths will be smoke-free;
    • At all taxi ranks and bus stops;
    • In all enclosed car parks;
    • During public events on Council land;
    • Within the Lane Cove Village commercial area, Council owned arcades, Lane Cove Library–Library Walk and Library Square;
    • Within the Lane Cove Plaza area (between Burns Bay Road and Longueville Road)
    • Within the St Leonards commercial area and neighbourhood shopping centres;
    • At all Council-owned indoor and outdoor dining areas;
    • Within the grounds of all Council-owned childcare centres, Council offices, community centres, youth-related facilities, neighbourhood centres, libraries and leased commercial premises (excluding licensed premises);
    • On all bushland on public land in the Local Government Area;
    • On all sportsfields and Council-owned sporting facilities, including grandstands and change rooms. A condition of hiring Council sportsfields shall be that they are smoke-free.;
    • Within 10 metres of children’s playgrounds or play equipment;
    • In all foreshore areas of public land in the Local Government Area;
    • In all parks in the Local Government Area.

    What is Lane Cove Council Doing to Enforce this Ban?

    According to the Lane Cove Council Smoke-Free Policy, Lane Cove Council will:

    • Erect suitably-worded and strategically-placed notices in the appropriate public places prohibiting smoking.
    • Implement educational and enforcement programs to support the smoking ban and to promote community awareness and acceptance of the ban.

    From time to time, ITC receives complaints about people smoking in the Lane Cove Village Area.  When ITC asked the Lane Cove Council their policy on enforcement we received this reply:

    “Where Council is aware of repeat offences in No Smoking areas we have worked with local businesses and organisations to request compliance and monitored this. Council seeks to educate the individual on the rules for No Smoking to avoid repeat offences. Staff report that explaining the exclusion areas largely has a positive outcome. Fines being issued require the individual to provide identification to verify their name and address for the fine to be issued, unlike a vehicle or business which is identified through other means. We do consider the impact of increased visitors to the area too, e.g. we are aware that it is part of the site induction for some of the new developments to let workers know about the Smoke-Free areas in the village.”

    Many residents queried why we need a cigarette shop in Lane Cove.  There was particular concern that the shop was located next to a bus stop where many school kids catch their local school bus.

    Last year the ITC family took part in the 2066 Litter Challenge and where we picked up litter every day.  Our cover photo is the buts picked up in 10 minutes behind the ANZ  Bank in Lane Cove Village.  Smokers even heckled ITC as we picked up their cigarette butts.

    In 2019, as part of World No Tobacco Day, a health policy think tank Mitchell Institute at Victoria University issued a media release to raise awareness about smoking rates in Australia.  The good news is that the national average smoking rate has dramatically declined over the past four decades, with 14 per cent of Australians adults smoking daily.  The even better news is that the Lane Cove smoking rate is one of the lowest in NSW.  The smoking rate in Lane Cove is 8.4%.  This trend is reflected in the entire North Shore – see below data from the Northern Districts Local Area Health.

    Health Policy Lead at Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute Ben Harris said local factors were influencing smoking rates.

    “We know where we live, where we work when we left school and who we know influences smoking. We also know that the best way to stop children picking up the habit is to encourage the adults around them quit smoking,” Mr Harris said.

    “We know the Quit smoking messages, combined with information on the packaging about disease caused by smoking, is very effective in encouraging people to quit. Using local approaches and local knowledge could help make sure that all Australians are given the best opportunity to quit smoking and improve their health and wellbeing.”

    Should we, as a community, be doing more to reduce local smoking rates?  What do you think?

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