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Seeking dining-health nirvana: smoking in public outdoor eating areas

Tuesday 21 February, 2012 by Bek

I'm showing my age here, but I remember waking up after gigs with my purple 8-up Docs still on and more than the Smell of Teen Spirit in my hair. Cigarette smoke. It was in everything – your hair, clothes, it even permeated PVC – revealing not only my age but a dark goth past as well.

When the smoking ban in pubs, clubs and bars came in, doomsdayers called it the end of Melbourne nightlife. In fact it was the start of toilet smells. We'd never noticed how much the toilets at Melbourne's pubs smelt. Melbourne's nightlife continued on – queues still formed outside Chasers, punters still headed to gigs at the Espy and people still danced to Avril Lavigne – actually this part is debatable.

A story in the Herald Sun today discusses the potential for a state-wide ban on smoking in alfresco dining areas. Quit, which is part of Cancer Council Victoria, would love to see this happen. And they're not alone – seven out of 10 Victorians want a ban on smoking in alfresco areas. Yet again there are similar calls by industry that the ban will destroy Melbourne's cultural fabric – what do you think? How do you choose where you're going to dine out?

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