More than two-thirds of Victorians support a ban on smoking in alfresco dining areas, according to new research released today.
The data, from Cancer Council Victoria, also revealed the majority of smokers supported a ban on smoking in hospital grounds or outdoor areas where children are present.
Victoria is now the only state in Australia that has not already introduced or announced an intention to introduce smoking bans in outdoor dining areas.
The 2011 Attitudes to Smoking in Outdoor Areas report also showed:
- The majority of Victorian adults (69%) believe smoking should not be allowed in alfresco dining areas.
- Adults residing in regional Victoria were more likely to support smokefree outdoor dining than those living in the city (75% compared to 68%).
- The percentage of Victorians who support smokefree outdoor dining has risen steadily from 58% in 2004 to 69% in 2011.
- More than 60% of Victorians supported bans on smoking at uncovered areas of train stations, bus and tram stops.
- 77% of Victorians believe that smoking should be allowed within designated outdoor areas at licenced venues provided that it was at least two metres away or separated from other patrons.*
Cancer Council Victoria Chief Executive Officer Todd Harper said the research was further proof that Victorians wanted the government to take action and legislate for smoke-free alfresco dining.
"Smoke-free alfresco areas not only help denormalise smoking for young people, they also support recent quitters to stay quit," he said.
Quit Executive Director Fiona Sharkie said research had shown that one in five smokers were prompted to make a quit attempt when similar laws were introduced in Queensland.
"Councils across Victoria are doing great work implementing smoke-free areas but they are all saying the same thing: they want an across-the-board ban from the State Government," she said.
Heart Foundation Victoria Chief Executive Officer Kathy Bell said smokefree legislation, along with price rises and anti-smoking advertising campaigns, was a key factor in driving down smoking rates.
"We're calling on the State Government to protect Victorians from the harms of secondhand smoke. There is clear community support for this move," she said.