Outdoor dining areas

Whether it’s for a weekly catch up or a special celebration, dining out is a pleasure we all enjoy. Creating a comprehensive smoke free policy regarding restaurant dining areas is a key achievement of ACOSH, one that has increased comfort and safety for patrons, as well as hospitality staff.

Consultation

ACOSH conducted a survey of patrons and members of the hospitality industry to assess attitudes towards regulations and possible future change. The key survey locations included Fremantle, West Perth, Leederville and Subiaco. Initial concerns that changes might adversely affect business were shown to be largely unfounded, as 64% of owners stated that the regulations had a positive impact on business; just 8% observed a negative change.

Although a majority of owners expressed apprehension at the prospect of outdoor dining areas becoming smoke free, the survey revealed most patrons endorsed the move.

History

In October 2005, ACOSH launched a campaign that all alfresco dining areas such as courtyards, on footpaths or balconies should become smoke free. ACOSH President at the time, Professor Peter Le Souëf, said:

“People love to eat and socialise outdoors in WA, especially during our beautiful summer months, but, nothing is more irritating when you are sitting down to enjoy a nice meal, or a good coffee, and someone at the next table lights up. Areas where food is served must become smokefree; this includes all cafes, restaurants (licensed or unlicensed) and pubs.”

He also mentioned how smoking in these areas puts our most vulnerable people more at risk. “People with asthma and other respiratory diseases can suffer an attack from the passive smoke of others; even in an outdoor setting. Also, there are often children eating with families; their health potentially at risk. Not to mention the modelling of aberrant behaviour in front of children!” said Professor Le Souëf.

This was a relatively low-key launch as ACOSH was still in the midst of preparing for smoke free enclosed public places. However, it is noteworthy that ACOSH has received many calls from members of the public who are very supportive of this campaign.

Implementation

On 22 September 2010, new smoking restrictions were implemented in WA. Smoking is now prohibited in outdoor eating areas, unless the place in which the person is smoking is a designated smoking zone.

An outdoor eating area is a public place, or part of a public place:

  • that is provided, on a commercial basis, as an area where food or drink may be consumed by people sitting at tables and;
  • that is not an enclosed public place.

Extending smoke free zones

Under the restrictions introduced in 2010, smoking became prohibited near playgrounds, specifically within 10 metres of any children’s playground equipment.

Smoking is now also banned within the flags at the beach, and in cars carrying kids. Those choosing to ignore these bans risk a court imposed penalty of up to $1,000.

To get more information about smoking restrictions and tobacco laws in WA, please refer to the following resources: