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Rural Victorians join the call for a smokefree victoria

Tuesday 14 September, 2004

The rural community has joined the chorus of people calling for a smokefree Victoria with a new survey revealing approximately 7 out of 10 respondents living in the country approved of smoking bans in hotels and bars.

Research released through The Cancer Council Victoria illustrates there has been a substantial 18.2% jump in approval for bans amongst rural respondents since 2000.

The results come a week after the Queensland Government announced plans for comprehensive smoking bans in public places, including bars.

Executive Director of Quit Victoria, Todd Harper, said that fact that almost 70% of rural Victorians wanted a ban on smoking in bars was yet another example of the massive public support behind a push to go smokefree.

""People from all over Victoria, country and city, have made a very clear point that they want to see bars go smokefree,"" said Mr Harper.

“Law-makers can now have every confidence that smokefree legislation would be very popular with the public.”

“We can no longer compromise the health of bar workers and patrons with sustained exposure to second hand tobacco smoke when there is the sensible and hugely supported alternative of going smokefree.”

AMA Victoria President and Rural GP, Dr Sam Lees, said bars should be made smokefree as soon as possible

“Second hand tobacco smoke causes cancer, heart disease, respiratory illness and many more diseases that if they don't kill you can rapidly destroy your quality of life,” said Dr Lees.

“The health evidence demonstrating the immediate and often fatal long term damage to patrons and workers in smoky bars is irrefutable.”

“We can’t allow Victoria to lag behind other States in protecting the community from the dangers of passive smoking.”

“Victoria must ensure that every opportunity is taken to help maintain the general health of the Victorians and to do that smoking bans must be extended to all enclosed public places and workplaces,” said Dr Lees.

Mr Harper is available for local media interviews in Horsham on the 14th September 2004.

ends

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

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