Smokers’ legal haze


WAGGA lawn bowlers are scratching their heads over new legislation governing where they can and can’t smoke.

The NSW government regulations, which came into effect last month, rule smoking is prohibited in “a spectator area at a sports ground or other recreational area being used for an organised sporting event”.

However, the amendments to the Smoke-Free Environment Act (2000) do not stipulate the laws on smoking when standing on the playing surface, or while participating in the event.

Wagga RSL Club general manager Andrew Bell says the new laws only confuse smokers and bowlers alike.

“It’s a strange one,” Bell said. “If you stand on the edge of the bowling green you can smoke, but if you stand just off it you can’t.

“It seems stupid.”

Bowls NSW has indicated to clubs it will not be enforcing any of its own regulations on smoking to bowlers.

Instead, it will leave the decision up to the individual club whether it wants to ban smoking from the playing surface or allow players to make the decision for themselves.

“We have basically left it up to our bowlers,” Bell said. “We always discourage people from smoking on our greens but we don’t have any rules against it.

“It’s such a hard one to police with the laws the way they are.”

The Tobacco Legislation Amendment Bill (2012) refers generally to all sports when mentioning grounds and spectator areas.

The Daily Advertiser contacted the Wagga Country Club yesterday to get its view on smoking on the golf courses but a spokesperson not be contacted.

The bill also bans smoking “within 4 metres of a pedestrian access point to a building” and Bell is equally confused about that ruling.

“You have seen our club…where is the entrance?” he said. “Is it from the street or our front door?”

The Rules Club was also unable to be contacted yesterday for comment.

NEW LAWS: New legislation governing where lawn bowlers can and cannot smoke is causing confusion in Wagga.

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