Quit and the Heart Foundation (Victoria) have applauded a decision by Port Phillip City Council on Monday night (November 8th) to ban smoking on its beaches from December 1, 2010.
The ban will include popular beaches such as St Kilda, Elwood and Port Melbourne and follows research from the Cancer Council Victoria showing that the majority of Victorians (63%) want beaches to be smoke-free zones.
Quit Executive Director Fiona Sharkie said the policy was a great move.
"It's wonderful that individuals and families will now be able to visit Melbourne's best-known beaches without having to deal with butt-litter and second-hand smoke."
"The City of Port Phillip has conducted extensive consultation with the community and found that the majority of people wanted to see this ban, which is in line with our research."
Heart Foundation (Victoria) CEO Kathy Bell said that momentum was building for outdoor smoke-free areas, after Victoria's first smoke-free mall came into effect in Frankston on Monday (8th November.)
"It's fantastic that councils are taking action to de-normalise smoking and, as a result, address the toll that tobacco takes on the community."
"Smoke free areas not only help protect people from second hand smoke, but also de-normalise smoking for children so they are less likely to take up the habit later in life."
Port Phillip Council joins only the Surf Coast Shire in banning smoking on beaches in Victoria.
Monash City Council is currently consulting with the public about the possibility of introducing smoke-free sporting fields and alfresco dining areas, with the consultation period ending November 26th.
This year the Heart Foundation (Victoria) and Quit have started working with local councils to offer encouragement and support for the implementation of smoke free outdoor areas, and in the coming month will send out resource kits to help assist councils who want to move in this direction.