More Victorian councils with smokefree policies but State Government must take lead on smokefree outdoor dining

Monday 17 December, 2012

NEW data has revealed almost half of all Victorian councils are considering implementing smokefree policies in outdoor areas. But only 5% are considering a ban on smoking in outdoor drinking and dining areas.

The 2012 Victorian council survey Smokefree policies in outdoor areas report underscored the need for the Victorian State Government to immediately introduce a statewide ban, Quit Victoria and Heart Foundation Victoria said today.

Quit Victoria Executive Director Fiona Sharkie said councils should be congratulated for the great progress they'd made in introducing smokefree outdoor areas.

"Now it's time for the State Government to step up and introduce a statewide ban to provide a consistent approach across Victoria," she said.

"Victorians deserve to enjoy a smokefree outdoor dining summer like Australians living in every other state."

The report also found:

  • 45 councils (57%) have a smoke-free policy in an outdoor area in 2012 compared with 32 councils (41%) in 2011.
  • There has been a substantial increase in smoke-free policies at council events and sporting fields. Eleven councils have implemented a smoke-free policy at council events and eight have banned smoking in sporting fields. In 2011, the figures were one and zero respectively.
  • Of the 45 councils with a smokefree policy in an outdoor area, 42% were metropolitan based councils and 58% were regional councils.
  • The most common areas with a smoking ban continue to be entrances to council buildings, swimming pools and playgrounds.

Heart Foundation Victoria CEO Kellie-Ann Jolly said the action by councils to introduce smoke-free policies was a testament to their commitment to public health.

"Throughout 2012, Victorian councils have told us that they'd like to see State Government leadership to implement legislation to ban smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas," she said.

"Seven out of ten Victorians also support a ban so it's time for the State Government to act."

Read the full report.

Updated: 17 Dec, 2012