Victoria primed to ban outdoor smoking

VicHealth is believed to have called for the move in a report to Health Minister David Davis.

Premier Ted Baillieu previously has said he would take advice on smoking in alfresco dining areas from the state’s main health advice authority.

Several metropolitan councils have introduced smoking bans at playgrounds and sports centres, but not outdoor dining areas because of stiff opposition from traders and smokers.

But the push for a blanket ban is growing and the City of Melbourne is considering a plan to make the Bourke St Mall smoke-free.

City resident Rebecca Jarvis, 29, said a ban on smoking in alfresco areas would breach civil liberties.

“Smoking is a huge part of Melbourne’s cultural fabric,” she said.
“We have a right to enjoy our vices in this state.” Yarra Council tonight is expected to debate an option to slash footpath trading fees for restaurants and cafes in places such as Richmond and Collingwood if they ban smoking.

A report before the council said restaurants and cafes did not support a ban because trying to enforce it with “alcohol-impaired smokers could further provoke the offender, resulting in assault and disorder”.

Shane McIntyre, owner of Gluttony cafe in Smith St, Collingwood, said smoking was still legal and people should have a choice.

Quit Victoria executive director Fiona Sharkie said Victoria should follow Queensland and introduce a statewide smoking ban in outdoor dining areas.

“Our research shows that around seven out of 10 Victorians want a ban on smoking in alfresco areas and are also very supportive of a ban in pub beer gardens if there is a designated smoking area,” she said.

The Municipal Association of Victoria has also called for a statewide ban, and urged the Government to extend it to beaches, sports grounds and outside school entrances.

A spokesman for Mr Davis said the minister had received submissions from several agencies and would meet the MAV to discuss the results of council anti-smoking trials soon.

Rural Baw Baw Shire is the only Victorian council to ban smoking in alfresco areas so far.

John Masanauskas
Herald Sun

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