Airport smokers break rules
Puffing: A smoker outside the Perth domestic terminal in the smoke-free area. Picture: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian

People continue to flout smoke-free zones at Perth Airport despite the construction of a smokers' shelter more than a year ago.

Health groups say their action puts the wellbeing of others at risk.

Yesterday morning, The West Australian saw dozens of people at the domestic airport - including a security worker - lighting up in a 4-5m smoke-free zone clearly marked by yellow paint.

Airport staff did not intervene.

People lit up as soon as they walked out of the terminal. Others congregated at the entrance, puffing away.

"The bottom line is we're doing very well across WA when it comes to smoke-free areas and the one blot on that copybook is the airport," Cancer Council of WA spokesman Terry Slevin said.

"It's the gateway to WA and people are getting the wrong signal when they arrive."

WA has some of the toughest anti-smoking laws and Perth City Council recently said it would move to ban smoking in the city's malls.

Australia Council on Smoking and Health president Mike Daube said there was no safe level of exposure to passive smoking and branded the dedicated smokers' shelter a "complete waste of money".

"Airports are places where it should be dead easy to impose restrictions on smoking," he said.

Heart Foundation WA chief executive Maurice Swanson said repeated exposure to passive smoking could increase the risk of heart disease by 25 per cent and induce a heart attack in someone who had heart disease.

Canberra mum Cassandra Smith, 29, said she kept her baby covered in a carrier as she walked past the smokers.

"It's not much but it's something, short of a gas mask," she said.

Jo, 46, who did not want her surname used, said she lit up in the smoke-free zone because she did not want to sit in the sun and the smokers' shelter was at the other end of the terminal.

"I'm too lazy to walk all that way," she said. "I used it when I started out - but then I saw everyone else doing it."

Perth Airport chief executive Brad Geatches said since the construction of the smokers' shelters there had been a "significant reduction" in the number of people smoking in front of the terminals.

The West Australian

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