Slowly does it on smoke-free outdoor areas for south-west region

COUNCILS in the south-west are happy to look at banning smoking in outdoor areas but say more consultation is needed.

New data released by the Heart Foundation and Quit Victoria shows almost half of all Victorian councils are considering implementing smoke-free policies in outdoor areas, with five per cent considering a ban on smoking in outdoor drinking and dining areas.

Corangamite Shire mayor Chris O’Connor said banning smoking in outdoor areas was not something that was currently on the council’s radar.

“It’s not really something anyone has raised with us,” he said.

“But we would certainly consider it if it came up.”

Warrnambool City Council mayor Mike Neoh said the previous council was very interested in developing a smoke-free policy and had requested council officers to investigate the matter.

He said he knew of smoke-free policies around playgrounds and council-owned building entrances, and banning smoking in other areas was something that would be looked at.

In Moyne Shire, mayor Jim Doukas said it was not an issue that had been raised with the council.

He said if it was to be considered the council would need to consult with tourism operators, business owners and the general public. 

Quit Victoria executive director Fiona Sharkie said councils should be congratulated for the great progress they had made in introducing smoke-free outdoor areas.

“Now it’s time for the state government to step up and introduce a statewide ban to provide a consistent approach across Victoria,” she said.

“Victorians deserve to enjoy a smoke-free outdoor dining summer like Australians living in every other state.”

The report found 45 councils have a smoke-free policy in an outdoor area in 2012, compared with 32 councils the year before.

Of the 45 councils with a smoke-free outdoor area policy, 42 per cent were metropolitan-based councils and 58 per cent were regional councils.

The most common areas with a smoking ban in place continued to be entrances to council buildings, swimming pools and playgrounds.

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