Baw Baw Shire Council has become the first local government in Victoria to ban smoking in outdoor dining areas on council land across the municipality.
Quit and the Heart Foundation (Victoria) have welcomed the move, which also includes a ban on smoking in playgrounds, sporting fields, some pedestrian areas and at council events.
Quit Executive Director Fiona Sharkie said it was a significant step for Baw Baw - and was the result of a comprehensive consultation process that showed strong community support for smoke-free outdoor areas.
"Baw Baw Shire Council is leading the way in Victoria when it comes to protecting the health of its residents."
"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."
"The majority of Victorians want smoke-free outdoor areas so it's only natural they should become more common place."
Heart Foundation (Victoria) CEO Kathy Bell said it was great to see that Baw Baw Shire had taken the initiative to protect children in a range of outdoor settings.
"Smoke-free environments de-normalise smoking so children are less likely to see smoking, less likely to start smoking and therefore less likely to suffer from the negative effects of tobacco use."
"Baw Baw isn't the only council taking action in this area. Yarra City Council is also taking steps to introduce smoke-free outdoor areas - including smoke-free alfresco dining - and it's only a matter of time before other councils do the same."
Baw Baw Shire joins over 25 councils in NSW and several councils in Tasmania that have implemented smoke-free alfresco dining areas. WA, NT, the ACT and Queensland have enforced smoke-free alfresco areas across the state.
Councils that already have outdoor smoke-free policies in place in Victoria include Monash, Moonee Valley, Manningham and Moreland City Councils in children's playgrounds and the City of Port Phillip, Surf Coast Shire and Hobsons Bay on beaches. Frankston City Council also has a smoke-free outdoor mall in its city centre.
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