New research has revealed that patronage of bars is likely to have increased by almost 10% since the introduction of smokefree laws in Victoria in July last year.
According to the data from The Cancer Council Victoria, nearly 15% of those surveyed report they are visiting bars more often since smoking bans came into force compared with only 5% who say they are visiting less often
The majority of the 1258 survey respondents (81%) who go to venues at least once a month said the introduction of smokefree legislation had made no difference to their patronage of hotel bars and licensed bars.
Executive Director of Quit, Ms Fiona Sharkie said the data is an overwhelming endorsement of smokefree bars and clubs.
"More than 9 out of 10 surveyed said smoking bans either made no difference to their patronage of bars, or they go to these venues more often as a result of the smokefree environment."
"For years we heard the same song from the tobacco and hospitality industries about a downtown in business with the introduction of smoking bans but this research shows smokefree environments are, in fact, a good news story for pub patronage."
"Less than 20% of Victorian adults smoke so it makes sense that the public prefer going to these venues and socialising without exposure to second-hand smoke."
Ms Sharkie said with such positive results already being seen from smokefree bars and clubs, the time is right to move to smokefree al fresco dining.
"Al fresco dining areas becoming smokefree is certainly something we would like to see happen in Victoria, and it seems like a natural extension to the enormously popular smokefree legislation already in place."
"Restaurant and bar staff are entitled to a healthy work environment but in some busy outdoor dining areas they are repeatedly or continuously exposed to second-hand smoke."
Ms Sharkie said Quit often received complaints from members of the public who wish to enjoy alfresco dining without being surrounded by smoking.
"At the moment anyone who wants to dine outside has to endure second-hand smoke around them, and the feedback from the public is very much that they would like that situation changed."