The Victorian Coalition Government plans to introduce anti-smoking legislation, to protect children from inhaling second-hand smoke, if re-elected for another term.
The Napthine government will introduce amendments to the Tobacco Act (1987), which will ban smoking outside of entrances to childcare centres, schools and public hospitals.
Seymour MP and Eildon candidate, Cindy McLeish, says there has been a shift in public thinking towards smoking.
“Over the years, public opinion has changed quite a lot. Smoking around buildings, particularly outside of childcare centres and public hospitals, has drawn a lot of complaints from the general public.”
Minister for Health, David Davis, echoes Cindy McLeish’s comments.
“The bill will reduce the level of exposure to harmful second-hand smoke and reduce the exposure of children to smoking in education and care settings.”
“Evidence shows that there is strong community support for further efforts to protect children from exposure to the damaging effects of smoking.”
Victorian health organisations have welcomed the Coalition government’s proposed anti-smoking legislation.
VicHealth and Quit Victoria have presented the Victorian government with advice and research on the matter, which has influenced the proposed legislation.
VicHealth conducted a community attitudes survey involving 1000 Victorian parents with children under the age of 17, which was released earlier this month.
The poll showed that the majority of the parents surveyed (75%), were concerned about their children being exposed to cigarette smoke.
According to Quit Victoria, children exposed to second hand smoke regularly and for a long period of time, are at an increased risk of developing an infection and heart disease later in life.
“Victorians can all breathe a little easier today, knowing that Victoria has committed to putting public health first”, Quit Victoria Tobacco Policy Manager Kylie Lindorff says.
The Victorian government’s proposed legislation will also ban smoking in outdoor dining areas.
“Our smoking ban will ensure that anyone visiting a restaurant, cafe, pub or any other venue that offers outdoor dining can do so without the risk of being exposed to harmful second-hand smoke”, Health Minister David Davis says.
“Families particularly those with children will be able to visit venues and eat outside without encountering a cloud of smoke.”
Currently, smoking is only prohibited in outdoor dining areas, which are more than 75% enclosed.
The amendment was introduced the 1st of July 2007, despite smoking being banned inside all restaurants, cafes and dining areas six years earlier.
However, the legislation will change, if the Napthine government is elected for another term.
According to Minister for Health David Davis, the government will soon consult with businesses and groups, affected by the proposed ban on outdoor smoking.
“The Napthine Government recognises that the ban will affect a wide range of small, medium and large businesses, and that sufficient time must be provided to allow them to adjust to the new law.”