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Retired Builder Fined for Using an E-Cigarette on Sydney Train Station Platform

Posted November 20th, 2013 in News by Steve

In what may very well be the first case of its kind in Australia, a 67 year old retired builder has been fined for using an electronic cigarette in an area where smoking tobacco cigarettes is prohibited.

The whole affair began on the morning of 30 April 2013 when Anthony Campo was waiting for a train at Gosford train station. Campo was puffing away on his e-cigarette when he caught the attention of a pair of police officers who approached him to investigate the device that he was using. According the Campo, one of the police officers initially told him that he would only be cautioned and that he would not receive a fine. Nevertheless, a fine for the amount of $300 for smoking “in or on a public passenger vehicle, train or public place” did arrive a few days later in the mail. Campo decided to take the matter to court with the intent to plead guilty but hoping to avoid the $300 fine.

The judge who heard the case at Gosford Local Court on 15 November 2013, Magistrate Alan Railton, admitted that this kind of case was a “first” for him. The crown prosecutor submitted that an electronic cigarette fell within the definition of a “smoking product” under the Smoke-Free Environment Act 2000 (NSW) which defines a “smoking product” as “any tobacco product or other product that is intended to be smoked”. He further submitted that the court was obliged to find the defendant guilty and impose a fine. It was at this point that Campo decided to change his plea to not guilty, whereupon he produced a plastic bag containing an e-cigarette and told the magistrate that “it was only an electronic cigarette”.

Magistrate Railton then decided to postpone the trail till 19 December 2013. We will have to wait until then to see whether the court determines that e-cigarettes do indeed fall within the definition of tobacco products as outlined in the Smoke-Free Environment Act 2000 (NSW).

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