After New South Wales brought in a smoking ban for all commercial outdoor dining areas in July, Victoria’s Heath Minister Jill Hennessy has followed suit, giving businesses until August 2017 to prepare for the change.
By reducing the visibility of smokers, the Minister said the move will help de-normalise smoking for young people.
Victorian Cancer Council chief executive Todd Harper said at present, 13 per cent of Victorians smoke at a cost of more than $2 billion to the state’s healthcare system. Research from the Victorian Cancer Council has also shown 73 per cent of Victorians are in favour of the ban.
“Ultimately, how effective the smoke-free laws are will be seen in how well they protect hospitality workers from tobacco smoke, because they are the ones who spend the most time in these environments,” he said.
“We’re not concerned it will take until 2017 to implement this ban, so long as that time is well spent properly consulting to ensure the legislation, when implemented, protects workers as effectively as possible.”
Victoria is the last Australian state to introduce smoke-free dining legislation, with a ban on all commercial outdoor dining areas implemented in ACT in 2010 and Queensland in 2006.