Do you think a smoking fine should be enforced for someone smoking an electronic cigarette in a no smoking area?
I personally support the use of such devices as an aid for quitting smoking, and do not think a fine is fair - after all, no smoke comes out of these things.
My question is prompted by the article below, which I heard about on the radio this morning:
A RETIRED builder has become possibly the first Australian to be fined for allegedly smoking an electric cigarette in a public place.
Lifelong smoker Anthony Campo caught the attention of police when he pulled out the e-cigarette while waiting for a train at Gosford station.
The 67-year-old didn't claim that he wasn't actually smoking, because he said the female officer initially told him she was only going to give him a warning.
Instead, she issued him with a $300 fine in the mail for smoking "in or on (a) public passenger vehicle, train, public place''.
Mr Campo took the matter to Gosford Local Court on Friday where he intended to plead guilty, but hoped to avoid the fine.
However, when magistrate Alan Railton, who described the case as "a first for me", said he had to enforce the fine, Mr Campo changed his plea to not guilty.
Producing a zip-lock bag containing the ciggy and a small charger, Mr Campo told the magistrate "it was only an electronic cigarette''. Amid chuckles from the galler, the bemused magistrate said, "That's a good one.''
The prosecutor said irrespective of whether it was an e-cig the regulations defined the offence as including "any tobacco or any other product intended to be smoked".
Mr Railton said there was nothing the court could do but enforce the fine.