This summer you won't be able to get your butt out at Point Addis. But just hang onto your bareback horses, no one's taking away your favourite nudist beach. This is not a ban on nudists, but a ban on smoking on the beach.
Momentum has been building over the past couple of weeks around smokefree outdoor areas and it looks like beach butts have had their day in the sun.
The Surf Coast Shire was the first to ban the butts on beaches two years ago, then on Monday (8 Nov) the Frankston City Council declared its outdoor mall would be smokefree. Frankston is the first area in Victoria to have a smoke-free outdoor mall. Clearly the smokefree excitement then spread as the City of Port Phillip announced yesterday that it would prohibit smoking on beaches this summer too. Brisbane City also caught the bug and decreeded its mall would also be smokefree .
Clearly being smokefree is contagious. And why not - recent Cancer Council Vic research indicates that the majority of people want their beaches, alfresco dining areas and other outdoor spaces where there are children present to be smokefree.
Smokefree beaches are a long way from the hazy, and I mean hazy days of iconic coming of age /surf film Puberty Blues. And while times and certainly fashions have changed on the beach since the early 80s, there'll still need to be some significant work in changing behaviours and de-normalising smoking on the sand.
For example, I spend a lot of time around Torquay and Jan Juc beaches on the Surf Coast and I still see an awful lot of smoking on the beach. In fact until this week I wasn't aware it was banned. Now I feel at least I have some grounds to say something to those smoking, and this groundswell of action on the smokefree front will hopefully mean I'm not alone.
What do you think is the best way to stop people smoking people on beaches? How can it be effectively policed?
I for one am personally very excited about this smokefree movement, particularly on beaches. Hopefully now my children will at least understand that cigarette butts are not just a cylindrical form of seaweed.
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