The Hon. J.A. DARLEY ( 12:35 :45 ): I rise to briefly contribute to the debate on this bill. The purpose of this bill is to streamline exemptions sought for artistic performances from section 46(1) of the Tobacco Products Regulation Act 1997 which prohibit smoking in an enclosed public space, workplace or shared area. The bill shifts the exemption powers from the Governor to the Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse or a delegate.
In this day and age where electronic cigarettes are commonplace, I find it baffling that an exemption is required at all. I understand the minister's argument that smoking may form an integral part of an artistic performance, especially for historic plays; however, imitation cigarettes that mimic the look and smoke emitted from real cigarettes now exist. The dangers of smoking are well known and it is perplexing that artistic directors would choose to use real cigarettes, albeit herbal, which would expose their actors, crew and the audience to passive smoking.
I note the definition of a tobacco product under the act includes 'any product that does not contain tobacco but is designed for smoking,' and would be grateful if the minister could clarify whether exemptions need to be sought for electronic or other imitation cigarettes. However, I note that the main aim of this bill is to reduce red tape, something that I am wholeheartedly supportive of. Whilst I do not agree with real cigarettes being used in artistic performances, this bill is not debating the merits of this issue but rather streamlining the process for an exemption. As such, I support the bill.