QUIT Victoria and Cancer Council Victoria has urged all parties to commit to introducing smokefree outdoor dining as part of their election platform, following the announcement it will be introduced in South Australia by July 2016.
The South Australian Government had earlier announced its attention to introduce smokefree outdoor dining but until now had not yet committed to a date. The announcement leaves Victoria as the only state in Australia that has not announced a date for the introduction of the reform.
Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said patrons and hospitality workers in Victoria deserved the same protections afforded to those in other states.
“It’s disappointing to see the lack of action on this issue from the two major parties so far,” he said.
“Given that seven out of 10 Victorians support smokefree outdoor dining, it’s an issue that could prove to be a vote winner.
“The success of several smokefree outdoor dining trials by councils across the state, including in the Melbourne CBD, proves that Victorians have an appetite for smokefree dining.”
Victoria’s reputation as a leader in tobacco control is at stake if progress continues to stall, Quit Victoria Acting Executive Director Craig Sinclair said.
“We recognise the State Government’s efforts in this area with the introduction of smoking bans in a number of outdoor areas,” he said.
“But a ban on smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas will have a much greater impact in reducing smoking norms and exposure to secondhand smoke.
“The upcoming state election provides a real opportunity for all parties to signal their commitment to further reducing smoking rates and smoking harms to Victorians by pledging to introduce this crucial reform.”