Victoria's peak health groups today celebrated the introduction of smokefree dining in Victoria, saying the long-awaited change is a positive step for the health and comfort of the public, and also of staff in venues covered by the new law.
Australian Medical Association Victorian President Dr Mukesh Haikerwal said the health effects of passive smoking are so well documented that no government or employer should allow employees and patrons to be exposed to smoke.
""For every month, or year, we allow smoking to continue in hotels, bars and gaming venues, we endanger the health of too many people. So while the AMA in Victoria applauds bans on smoking in dining areas, what we are really looking forward to is a ban on smoking in all public enclosed areas, which must include workplaces.""
Executive Director of Quit Todd Harper said that now both the government and the hospitality industry must begin to address the issue of smoking restrictions in other areas.
""Today Victoria has reached an important milestone, but the journey is not finished.""
""While smokefree dining is a positive step forward, there are many areas that are not covered by this legislation; staff and patrons in bars and gambling areas will continue to face smoky environments.""
""With the possibility of legal action by staff and patrons, and the significant – and growing – public support, it’s inevitable that smoking restrictions will eventually go further in the future.""
""I’m confident that smokefree dining will be a huge success and encourage the government and hospitality industry to consider widening these bans. For the sake of staff in bars and gambling venues, we hope that happens sooner rather than later.""
Representatives from other health groups also welcomed the new legislation.
""The Heart Foundation believes that everyone should be able to go about their daily business without involuntary exposure to other people’s smoke. This new legislation means that everyone’s a winner - individuals, families and the staff who serve them,"" said Victorian Heart Foundation Director Robyn Charlwood.
Dr Melanie Wakefield, of the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria’s Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer said smokefree dining legislation is a positive step forward for public health in Victoria.
""From today, all Victorians will be able to enjoy the fabulous food available in the restaurants of our state, free from exposure to tobacco smoke. We strongly support moves to widen restrictions to all worksites where employees or customers are still exposed involuntarily to this carcinogen.""
VicHealth’s Communications Director Trish Cotter said ""If you consider that smoking is the largest preventable cause of death in Victoria, we need to be working to create environments that are healthy and smoke-free if we are going to make any inroads in improving our health.
""Clearing the cloud of smoke from our eating areas is one more positive step towards improving everyone’s health and dining experience.""
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