Australia: No ban on tobacco stores in parks

More than 70 per cent of people in Australia do not smoke and many more have never tried smoking, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data.

However, tobacco products are banned from some areas of the country including public parks, schools, hospitals, museums, churches, sporting events and workplaces.

The ban applies to indoor public spaces, as well as outdoor areas and other public spaces that are not part of a licensed indoor public space.

Tobacco products can only be sold in licensed outdoor public spaces.

More than 1.2 million people are smokers, according the ABS.

“There is a growing awareness that smoking is a serious health risk, but the tobacco industry has been able to ignore this by offering misleading messages and advertising to children and young people,” said Sarah Loughton, the chief executive of the Australian Foundation for Tobacco Research.

Despite the ban, there are still places where tobacco products can be sold, such as pharmacies and some supermarkets.

Australian Premier Mike Baird is to announce a plan to introduce a public health levy on cigarettes in July.

Health experts said the move was likely to hit tobacco companies hardest.

“The Australian tobacco industry is a major contributor to the costs of smoking and we know that it has the ability to generate enormous profits, as a consequence of its large investment in research and development,” said Dr Andrew Stott, from the University of NSW School of Public Health.

But Dr Stott said the levy was not a major problem because tobacco products were widely available in Australia and were not likely to be heavily taxed.

“There are a lot of places where it’s just hard to find them and if you do, you’re just going to get them from the shops,” he said.

Follow Ben Bryant on Twitter: @benbryantABC