Victoria's peak health groups have welcomed the introduction of smoking bans in Victorian bars and clubs, kicking-off this Sunday.
As of July 1, all enclosed licensed premises in Victoria must be smokefree. Smoking will also be prohibited in an outdoor dining or drinking area if the area has a roof in place and the wall surfaces exceed 75%.
Director of the Cancer Council of Victoria, Professor David Hill said the vast majority of Victorians were looking forward to the changeover to smokefree bars and clubs.
"The introduction of smoking bans in bars and clubs this weekend marks a tremendous step forward in our continuing fight to curb the devastating toll of tobacco use in the community."
"We know the bans will be extremely popular with the Victorian public with support data indicating that more than 8 out of 10 Victorians support total smoking bans in bars and clubs."
Professor Hill pointed out that the smokefree environments would be popular amongst smokers, with almost two thirds now approving of smoking bans in hotels and licensed bars.
Acting Director of Quit Victoria, Ms Suzie Stillman, said she expected bars and clubs to comply with the new laws with minimum fuss.
"Bars and clubs have known about this law for over two years so there is really no excuse for not complying."
"Smokefree laws have been hugely successfully in both Ireland and New York, both with a vibrant bar and pub culture, so there is no reason to doubt how well similar smoking bans will work in Victoria."
Ms Stillman said strong enforcement of the new laws is essential to ensure the effectiveness of smokefree environments and emphasised that this was something Quit would be monitoring closely.
Chief Executive Officer of VicHealth, Mr Todd Harper, said the introduction of smokefree bars and clubs would strike an important blow against the tobacco industry.
"The tobacco industry has always been acutely aware that social environments like bars and clubs provide an encouragement and endorsement for smoking more cigarettes. This explains why tobacco marketing strategies for young adults have focused on these environments."
"Before the introduction of smokefree legislation the social approval for smoking offered in licensed venues could be seen as an effective pathway by which younger social smokers become regular smokers, and the tobacco industry was adept at exploiting this," said Mr Harper
The Heart Foundation (Victorian Division) Chief Executive Officer, Ms Kathy Bell, highlighted the important health reasons behind smokefree environments.
"Exposure to second-hand smoke is not merely a nuisance. In addition to causing irritations like sore eyes and throat, it can also lead to serious respiratory illness and indeed cancer and heart disease."
"July 1 is a day that all hospitality workers in Victoria can celebrate as they can now enjoy the right to work without the fear of the health risks associated with second-hand smoke."
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