Gunnedah smoke-free policy hears concern on health impact from diesel

The proposed smoke-free zone on Condailly St, Gunnedah.

The proposed smoke-free zone on Condailly St, Gunnedah.

An extension of Conadilly Street’s smoke-free zone is expected to be pushed through council this week despite some community concern about the impact of diesel fumes in the area.

Council has recommended adoption of the draft smoke-free environmental policy which will extend the smoking ban from Tempest to Henry streets.

The draft policy received three submission during its 28-day public exhibition – two from health organisations and one submission from a local resident.

The third submission centred on “identification” that diesel emissions also cause lung cancer.

Among the points raised were concerns over Gunnedah’s revised smoking ban and “disbelief of the health impacts that support such a ban are justified”.

The submission also identified “greater health impacts are caused by emissions from diesel trucks and vehicles which reverse up to stores selling food; identification the World Health Organisation has confirmed diesel emissions are carcinogenic; identification diesel vehicles will be excluded from some of the largest city centres in the world including Paris, Madrid, Athens, and Mexico City by 2025 and identification that the number of people smoking is falling yet number of people with cancer is rising”.

The submission also questioned how council could “ban one form of pollution (smoking) but not deal with another (emissions from diesel engines)?”

New research from the United States has linked exposure of diesel exhaust fumes to increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

It is believed carcinogenic particles from diesel reduce levels of cholesterol protecting the heart and arteries.

Two other submissions supported Gunnedah’s smoke-free zone extension and both endorsed the policy’s ban on e-cigarettes.

One said the e-cigarette ban was “vital” as the health effects were unknown and because the product normalises smoking.

One submission also sought “identification that Gunnedah Local Government Area (LGA) contains a higher average smoking rate than that of the NSW state”.

The proposal to extend Condailly’s smoke-free zone drew some community concern.

“There’s nothing wrong with certain places in town but you can’t block off the whole main street,” one resident told the NVI.

The matter will be heard at Wednesday’s council meeting.

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