Frankston City Council has become the first area in Victoria to have a smoke-free outdoor mall.
Smoking will not be allowed in a designated block in the city centre from today during the six-month trial, with the policy to be adopted permanently in 2011 if it is successful.
Frankston joins Hobart in Tasmania as the only other city council to have a smoke-free outdoor mall in Australia.
Quit Executive Director Fiona Sharkie said the ban was likely to be warmly received.
"Cancer Council Victoria research shows over three-quarters (77%) of Victorians believe smoking shouldn't be allowed in outdoor areas where children are present while seven out of 10 Victorians believe smoking shouldn't be allowed in outdoor restaurant dining areas"
"Smoke-free areas protect people from second hand smoke in some instances, and also de-normalise smoking for children so they are less likely to take up the habit. Additionally, they help quitters and ex-smokers stay quit by taking away triggers to light up again."
"In this way smoke-free areas can actually help bring down smoking rates in the community."
Since Frankston City announced it would trial the ban, Monash City Council has also taken steps to see more outdoor areas go smoke-free. The council is consulting the public about the possibility of introducing smoke-free sporting fields, alfresco dining areas and parks.
This year the Heart Foundation (Victoria) and Quit have started working with local councils in Victoria to offer encouragement and support for the implementation of smoke free outdoor areas.
Since a similar program in NSW started in 2007, the number of councils implementing smoking bans in outdoor areas has almost tripled to 76 - half of all councils in NSW