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New figures spell out community support for a smokefree Victoria

Tuesday 7 September, 2004

Research released today reveals over 70% of Victorians want to see smoking bans in bars, pubs and gaming venues in place within the next six months.

The findings, from The Cancer Council Victoria, have come on the same day some of the states' leading heart specialists have called for immediate action to ensure a smokefree Victoria and follow hot on the heels of the Queensland Government’s proposals for comprehensive smoking bans in public places, including bars.

Executive Director of Quit, Todd Harper, said that fact that over 70% of the public want to go smokefree within such a short timeframe highlighted that smokefree bars are also inevitable in Victoria.

""These figures are further evidence of the huge public support for total smoking bans in bars, nightclubs and gambling areas,"" said Mr Harper.

“Given the strong evidence on the harms of passive smoking, we must ensure every effort is made to protect them from the proven health effects of passive smoking.”

“With the strong support of both the community and the doctors that care for its medical needs there is little doubt that now is the time to make Victoria smokefree.”

“Workers and patrons in bars and clubs should be afforded the basic right to enjoy a good night out without the fear of the health risks associated with passive smoking,” said Mr Harper.

AMA Victoria Vice-President and Cardiothoracic Surgeon in Training, Dr Chris Merry, said the medical profession were completely in support of a push for a smokefree Victoria.

“The advice from specialist doctors on the need to ban smoking in pub and clubs as soon a possible sends a clear message to the Government that a smokefree Victoria is the way to go,” said Dr Merry.

“From a public health point of view there can be no more excuses or delays in introducing further bans on smoking areas. The only way to protect the non-smokers from the harms of passive smoking is to ban it in all indoor workplaces.”

“With the announcements of tough new restrictions in Queensland, the Government must act now or Victoria risks falling behind not only the rest of the world but also the rest of Australia,” said Dr Merry.

Table 1: Public opinion regarding how soon smoking bans in hotels, licensed bars, gaming venues and nightclubs should be implemented, 2003

Total

(n=3001)

%

Smokers (n=522)

%

Former smokers (n=886)

%

Never smokers (n=1593)

%

Immediately

57.0

35.7

60.7

61.9

In 1 month

3.1

2.1

2.6

3.7

In 6 mths

11.1

9.9

9.1

12.6

In 12 mths

7.5

6.1

6.7

8.4

In 2 years

3.2

3.4

3.0

3.2

More than 2 years

2.6

6.2

2.0

1.8

Never

8.5

25.2

8.5

3.0

Don’t know/Can’t say

7.0

11.3

7.5

5.4

Source: Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, The Cancer Council Victoria.

Further information:  Edwina Vellar,
Media Communications Manager

ph: (03) 9635 5400     

mob: 0417 303 811 

email: edwina.vellar@cancervic.org.au

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