The Heart Foundation and Quit Victoria have welcomed last night's decision by Macedon Ranges Shire to give their community a say about smoke-free outdoor areas.
Macedon Ranges Shire is the first council in the north-central region of Victoria to investigate smoke-free outdoor areas. Quit Victoria and the Heart Foundation are encouraging other Victorian councils to follow suit.
"Macedon Ranges Shire is joining a growing list of Victorian councils that are investigating or taking steps to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco smoke for all. The majority of Victorians support smoke-free outdoor areas," said Kathy Bell, CEO, Heart Foundation (Victoria).
The region is known for its pristine landscapes, heritage townships and is a popular tourist destination and will be better protected from cigarette butt litter through this initiative.
Since launching a resource kit earlier this year to assist local governments to adopt smoking bans in outdoor areas, the Heart Foundation and Quit Victoria have received enquires from numerous councils that, as Macedon Ranges Shire demonstrated last night, want to implement smoke-free areas.
"Smoke-free outdoor areas will further help to denormalise smoking, support smokers who are trying to quit and help reduce their overall cigarette consumption," said Quit Victoria Executive Director Fiona Sharkie.
The announcement comes one week after Hobsons Bay Council unanimously voted to ban smoking at children's playgrounds and popular beaches such as Williamstown and Altona. Baw Baw Shire Council will vote on a range of smoke-free outdoor areas including alfresco dining areas on 6 June 2011.
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 Cancer Council Victoria research shows:
- Over three-quarters (77%) of Victorians (smokers and non-smokers combined) believe smoking shouldn't be allowed in outdoor areas where children are present.
- Seven out of 10 (71%) Victorians believe smoking shouldn't be allowed in outdoor restaurant dining areas