Victoria's peak health groups have welcomed today’s announcement detailing the extent of amendments to Victoria’s Tobacco Act, including smoking bans in bars and workplaces.
However the groups said, despite significant progress being made, more needs to be done to curb the devastating toll of tobacco.
Chief Executive Officer of VicHealth, Rob Moodie, said the legislation, currently before Parliament, would prove popular with the Victorian public.
""In the last few years we have seen an huge increase in public support for tobacco control initiatives and smokefree environments, and people across the State will be pleased with these further efforts to protect them from harms caused by tobacco,"" said Dr Moodie.
Director of the Cancer Council of Victoria, Professor David Hill said Victorians were well and truly ready to become smokefree.
“These reforms will help address the tremendous burden of tobacco on the community, and by ensuring bars and clubs are smokefree the State Government is encouraging people to quit smoking.”
“Victorians have embraced the idea of smokefree bars and clubs to the point where the majority have signaled that they want them within the year,” said Professor Hill.
Professor Hill cited new Cancer Council figures released this week showing that 69% of Victorians who support total smoking bans in hospitality venues think they should be brought in sooner than July 1, 2007.
“Almost 80% of people who think the smoking bans should be brought in sooner want to see them implemented within 6 months, so it would be fantastic to see bars and clubs take this public support onboard and become smokefree immediately.”
Executive Director of Quit Victoria, Todd Harper, said the State Government had made a lot of progress in the recent years in relation to tobacco control.
“The reform package continues efforts by the State Government in the last few years to reduce harm caused by tobacco and it is great to see such a promising investment in the quality of life of future generations,” said Mr Harper.
“Victorians can be confident that we will have some of the best laws controlling the marketing of tobacco. The ban on buzz marketing and an end to on smoking at underage dance and music events means younger people will be less vulnerable to the cunning marketing tactics of the tobacco industry.”
“Still, as part the State Government commitment to reducing exposure to tobacco marketing, we would like to see a renewed effort to put the issue of removing the display of tobacco products in shops and retail outlets back on the public and political agenda.”
The Heart Foundation Victorian Division Chief Executive Officer, Robyn Charlwood, said that advertising at the point of sale is a particularly important avenue for tobacco companies to recruit new smokers.
“The State Government reforms are obviously dedicated to reducing the uptake of smoking by children, to enable young people to become more resistant to the persuasive influences of the tobacco industry,” said Ms Charlwood.
“Given this focus on smoking and young people it is the right time to seriously consider the important step of banning tobacco displays at point-of-sale that are prominent in venues frequented by children.”
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