Tobacco blitz - 58 fined
Tobacco blitz - 58 fined

WA health authorities are cracking down on parents who smoke in cars and shops that sell cigarettes to children, with 58 fines issued so far this year.

The Health Department has hit 48 retailers with $1000 fines for selling tobacco products to minors, and another five have been fined for selling products without a licence or unlawfully displaying products.

Since smoking laws were toughened in 2010, 50 people caught smoking in banned areas have also been referred to the department by police, including 31 fined $200 for smoking in cars with children present and another 18 warned about the practice.

Ten of the fines for smoking in cars have been issued this year, compared with one fine for all of last year. Only one person has ever been fined for smoking within 10m of a playground, in 2012.

Australian Council on Smoking and Health president Mike Daube said the most significant increase was in fines against retailers, which showed selling to minors was now a major target for enforcement.

"There has clearly been a crackdown on illegal tobacco sales, and that's very good news, but it's disturbing to see that so many tobacco retailers are still selling to minors," Professor Daube said.

"There is no excuse because they know it's an illegal practice.

"We need a change to the law so that anyone who is found guilty of selling cigarettes to minors should lose their licence instantly."

He said though he welcomed infringements for people smoking around children in cars and playgrounds, that legislation was always primarily to educate people. The relatively low number of offenders breaking those laws showed most people were doing the right thing, Professor Daube said.

The State Government is yet to release its new raft of anti-smoking measures in response to a 2011 Health Department review of tobacco laws that outlined 15 more ways to restrict cigarette sales and use.

The measures included a total ban on smoking in all outdoor eating areas, including hotel beer gardens which now allow smoking in half the area, and laws to stop people under 18 from selling tobacco.

The West Australian

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