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New data shows some Vic workers still exposed to second-hand smoke

Wednesday 8 March, 2006

New data from The Cancer Council Victoria has revealed only 50% of warehouse and factory workers enjoy total protection from second-hand smoke at work, emphasising the importance of new Victorian tobacco reforms.

The story on the factory floor is in stark contrast to the office, where over 80% of these indoor workers have the benefit of working in a totally smokefree environment.

Director of The Cancer Council Victoria, Professor David Hill said that exposure to second-hand smoke among indoor workers is expected to drop dramatically following last week's introduction of total smoking bans in most enclosed workplaces.

"Victorian workplaces have made tremendous progress in relation to smokefree environments over the last 15 years, jumping from 33.9% having total indoor bans in 1990 to almost 75% in 2005."

"Despite the rapid increase in total smoking bans in workplaces from the late 1980s to early 1990s this figure has reached a plateau in recent years, so this legislation is essential to protect the remaining 1 in 4 Victorians who are currently exposed to the dangers of second-hand smoke in the workplace."

Professor Hill said it was important not to underestimate second-hand smoke as a workplace hazard, reminding employers and employees of workplaces yet to go smokefree that exposure is capable of causing short term discomfort, serious illness or, in the event of long term exposure, even death.

Executive Director of Quit Victoria, Mr Todd Harper, said total-smoking bans in enclosed workplaces would also increase the chances of individuals successfully quitting.

"With most enclosed workplaces going smokefree last week, we would anticipate an increase in workers making quit attempts."

"We would encourage all workplaces to use Quit programs to ensure staff are supported in attempts to quit smoking or cope with new smoking bans."

"To organise a Quit course for your staff or to get a copy of the Making Your Workplace Smokefree Guide, call 03 9635 5514 or log onto www.smokefree.org.au ."

Mr Harper, says Quit Victoria can also support workplaces adapting to new smokefree legislation by providing expertise to assist with the development or update of smokefree workplace policies.

"If your workplace requires assistance in the development of a smokefree policy or  information on how to support your staff to stop smoking Quit has resources and advice to help."  

Staff who require quitting support can also contact Quitline on 13 QUIT (13 7848)  

ends

Edwina Vellar,
Media Manager
ph: (03) 9635 5400
mob: 0417 303 811
email:
Edwina.Vellar@cancervic.org.au

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