Almost 200 of Victoria's most respected cancer specialists and clinicians have joined the call for the Victorian State Government to introduce a ban on smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas.
197 cancer specialists and clinicians of Cancer Council Victoria's Clinical Network have written to the State Government urging them to add outdoor dining and drinking areas to the list of smokefree outdoor areas it's currently consulting on.
Professor David Ball, Chair of the Lung Service at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, commented on the strong backing from cancer specialists supporting a ban.
"Every day I have to tell some Victorians and their families the bad news that they have lung cancer and it may not be curable, I really wish I could have less of these conversations," he said.
"With 80% to 90% of lung cancers caused by smoking, I witness a lot of suffering that could have been avoided.
"A ban on smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas will protect Victorians from second-hand smoke and help quitters to avoid relapse. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.
"We should be taking every step possible to reduce the uptake of smoking and therefore the incidence of lung cancer, Victoria's number one cancer killer."
Quit Victoria Executive Director Fiona Sharkie said the backing from many of Victoria's most respected cancer clinicians echoed the high level of public support for a ban.
"Seven out of ten Victorians want to see smokefree outdoor dining and drinking areas in our state and given 86% of Victorians don't smoke, that's not surprising," she said.
"Outdoor dining and drinking areas can be a huge area of temptation for smokers and so making these areas smokefree would be a great step towards preventing relapse," she said.
"Almost 4000 Victorians die of smoking-related illness every year so creating environments which help them to quit rather than take up smoking and which denormalise smoking for young people will translate to significant health benefits across the board."
"It's time for Victoria to join every other state in Australia and ban smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas."
Last month, Asthma Foundation Victoria, Australian Medical Association (Victoria), Cancer Council Victoria, Heart Foundation (Victoria), and Quit Victoria launched an online campaign ‘Keep Fresh Air Fresh ' to urge the government to protect the health of Victorians, particularly children, from secondhand smoke.
The campaign encourages Victorians to urge the Napthine Government to add outdoor dining and drinking areas to the list of smokefree outdoor areas it is currently consulting on. Victoria is the only state in Australia that has not committed to or already introduced a ban on smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas.