‘No Smoking’ trial at Sale Hospital 11.9.2016
Wellington Shire Council and Central Gippsland Health Service (CGHS) have joined forces for a six month educational “no smoking” trial at the entrances to Sale Hospital.
The Victorian Government introduced laws in 2015, prohibiting people from smoking within four metres of the front entrance to hospitals and health centres.
However, despite “No Smoking” signs being displayed at entrances to the hospital, people are ignoring the laws so CGHS approached Council to assist with promoting the cessation of smoking around the hospital.
Council’s local law officers have commenced random patrols of the hospital entrances and carparks in a bid to educate visitors and patients.
Wellington Shire Council Mayor, Cr Darren McCubbin said the first priority of the local law officer was to explain the laws and provide educational information around smoking.
“We don’t want to come down hard on people, we just want them to understand the consequences of smoking and obey the laws if they choose to smoke around public buildings,” Cr McCubbin said.
“These smoking laws are in place to protect people from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke and support people who have quit and who are trying to quit smoking.”
The literature provided to smokers by local law officers reinforces the message that smoking is barred within four metres of not only hospitals and health centres but also schools and other public buildings.
CGHS board chair, Glenn Stagg, said the educational trial was the result of discussions with Council around the problem.
“As a hospital and health service, we have a responsibility to enforce these laws which are in place for very good reason,” Mr Stagg said. “We believe this educational trial is the best way to educate our community about them. As a community health service, the issue of education around smoking and assisting people to quit, is a priority for us.
“We are pleased that Council has agreed to partner with us for this initiative.”
While local laws officers won’t be issuing any fines during this trial period, there is normally an on-the-spot infringement penalty for anyone caught smoking within four metres of a Victorian building where the ban applies. The maximum penalty for someone breaking the smoking law is five penalty units which currently equates to a fine of $760.
At the end of the trial period, all data collected, including the number of smokers identified in breach of the Act, will be measured and evaluated.
For more information, please contact Lynne Smith on 0437 918234