There will never be another TV show like Cracker. Not because of falling production standards or a death of writing talent. Not even due to the polluting influence of reality TV, the threat of interactive entertainment or the widely prophisied death of television itself.

The reason we’ll never see another Cracker is because Fitz, the show’s gambling alcoholic nicotine-addicted protagonist, won’t be able to hunker down in the closest boozer nursing a whiskey and a fag and dissect the psychology of the serial killer du jour.

Being a smoker, Fitz would be kicked to the curb — as all English pub smokers will be — come July 1. It is the same date that pubs across Victoria will become smoke free. New South Wales’ pubs will be smoke free on July 2. In Queensland and Tasmania, the bans are already in place.

Gone are the days when the hero squints charismatically through a blue-grey haze, reaches across the table and touches a flaming Zippo to the cancer stick hanging from the heroine’s mouth.

The future looks more Sea Patrol than Casablanca. If this doesn’t appeal to you, or you simply prefer to shun society’s puritanical urgings for a longer healthier life, Crikey’s guide to smoke-friendly venues is for you.

Pubs & Clubs: If they haven’t already in your part of the world, pubs and clubs will soon be added to the list of public places where smoking is totally banned. A quick break down of smoking ban dates and details for pubs across Australia is listed below. For a more detailed summary visit Smokefree Victoria.

Jurisdiction

Smoking ban date

Vic

1.7.2007

NSW

2.7.2007

Qld

ban already in place

SA

1.11.2007

WA

from 1.1.2007, smoking permitted in single room of a multi-room venue (with conditions)

Tas

ban already in place

ACT

ban already in place

NT

“equal amenity” must be provided for smoking and non-smoking areas

Smoking is otherwise allowed only in areas that are not “enclosed” and do not serve food. State laws vary slightly but the definition of enclosed in the Smoke-free Environment Amendment [Enclosed Places] Regulation 2006 (NSW) is:

a public place is considered to be substantially enclosed if the total area of the ceiling and wall surfaces of the public place is more than 75 per cent of its total notional ceiling and wall area.

Casinos and gaming: Private gaming rooms in major casinos are exempt from anti-smoking laws in most States. Laws relating to other gaming areas and gambling machines vary from State to State.

Sports grounds: If a sports ground is considered a “public place” smoking is prohibited. You can’t smoke at the MCG but you might be able to smoke watching the local second XVIII depending on local by-laws.

Cars: In South Australia, smoking is banned in cars containing children. A child is someone under the age of 16. They’re not allowed to smoke either.

Home: Smoking in your own home is still a matter of personal choice and responsibility. However, one senses the future of a blanket outlawing of smoking imagined by Kath & Kim isn’t too distant.

Hope for the smoke?: The tobacco industry isn’t taking the latest smoking bans lying down, of course. Tobacco company Philip Morris is reportedly launching Australia’s first hand-held electronic smoking device, called the Heatbar.

The Heatbar is supposed to reduce second-hand smoke by 90% and is the size of a mobile phone. So much for smoking looking cool. Perhaps the Heatbar comes Bluetooth enabled?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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