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Advocacy: Call for smokefree outdoor dining and drinking in Victoria

Posted by Cairin: April 2013

Leading Australian health organisations are calling for action on a smoking ban in Victoria's outdoor dining and drinking areas.

Last month, the group welcomed new bans on smoking in outdoor areas including all playgrounds, pools, skate parks and children's sporting events by 2014 but are calling for more action.

Victoria is the only state in Australia that has not already introduced or announced an intention to introduce smokefree outdoor dining and drinking areas, despite a high level of community support for action.

Seventy per cent of Victorians and also a majority of smokers support banning smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas.

State Government legislation banning smoking in areas such as playgrounds, pools and skate parks had been a step forward but a statewide ban on smoking in alfresco dining areas would have a greater community impact, according to Quit Victoria chief executive Fiona Sharkie.

"Any progress in expanding smokefree areas and reducing children's exposure to smoking behaviours and secondhand smoke is a good thing but smokefree outdoor dining and drinking areas needs to be the next big priority for state smokefree laws," she said.

AMA Victoria President Dr Stephen Parnis said there was no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke.

"The bans announced today are good progress but hospitality staff and patrons are still being exposed to second-hand smoke due to a loophole in legislation that allows outdoor areas to be up to 75 per cent enclosed," he said.

"We need the State Government to extend their legislation to include outdoor dining and drinking areas to provide adequate protection for the hundreds of thousands of Victorians who eat out every week."

The bottom line is smokefree dining is good for our health – it's time for Victorians to be afforded the same healthy, smokefree lifestyle as our neighbouring states.  

For more information, visit quit.org.au.

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