The Hills going smoke free

Healthier option: Hills mayor Greg Burnett stands next to the Castle Hill Main Street bus stop which will soon be a no smoking zone. Anyone caught by the council ranger smoking in the area risks a fine. Picture: Natalie Roberts
Healthier option: Hills mayor Greg Burnett stands next to the Castle Hill Main Street bus stop which will soon be a no smoking zone. Anyone caught by the council ranger smoking in the area risks a fine. Picture: Natalie Roberts

THE Hills is going smoke-free under new tobacco reforms announced by the government last month.

Smokers will no longer be able to light up at bus stops, taxi ranks, playgrounds, public sports grounds, swimming pools or outdoor dining areas.

The reforms announced by Health Minister Julian Skinner will be phased in over the next three years, but won't apply to outdoor commercial dining areas which are exempt until 2015.

Hills Council mayor Greg Burnett said the reforms were a "good sense measure" and would partially help the health of the local community.

"These reforms won't have a huge impact on the community but will help all the same," Cr Burnett said.

"Most of the areas are government assets and the council will make resolutions in compliance with the legislation."

Cr Burnett said steps had already been taken to restrict smoking in some areas of the shire such as Main Street's alfresco dining areas.

"The government needs to find a balance where smokers can and can't smoke," he said.

"I agree that smoking should be banned in any area where families gather."