Health NFPs Call for Ban on ‘Secondhand Smoke’
18 April 2013 at 11:48 am
Children are breathing in secondhand smoke in outdoor dining areas while Victoria
lags behind in smokefree dining legislation, according to five of Victoria’s leading health organisations.
Asthma Foundation Victoria, Australian Medical Association (Victoria), Cancer
Council Victoria, Heart Foundation (Victoria), and Quit Victoria have launched
an online campaign ‘Keep Fresh Air Fresh’ to urge the government to protect the
health of Victorians, particularly children, from secondhand smoke.
Victoria is the only state in Australia that has not committed to or already introduced
a ban on smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas.
The group says that following a ban on smoking on patrolled beaches from December 1 2012, the Victorian Department of Health asked for submissions from the public on a proposal to ban smoking at public places including children’s playgrounds, public swimming pools and sea baths, skate parks and children’s sporting events but the current list does not include smokefree outdoor dining and drinking areas.
The Not for Profit campaign encourages Victorians to urge the Napthine Government to add outdoor dining and drinking areas to the list of smokefree outdoor areas it is currently consulting on.
CEO of Asthma Foundation Victoria, Robin Ould, says banning smoking would help
children (and adults) with asthma breathe easier while in outdoor areas such as cafes
“One in nine children and one in ten adults in Australia have been diagnosed with
asthma, this is a large proportion of our population. Secondhand smoke is a major
trigger for asthma attacks, so making outdoor dining areas smoke-free will enable
families, particularly those with children with asthma, to enjoy dining out."
Low levels of exposure to secondhand smoke also increases the risk of cardiovascular
disease and acute cardiac events.
Heart Foundation Victoria CEO Diana Heggie urged the Government to go beyond its
current proposal and introduce smoke-free outdoor dining and drinking given the high
level of public support.
“We know that 70% of Victorians support such a ban and smoke-free legislation is a
key factor in driving down smoking rates,” she said.
“Melbourne is renowned for its café culture which can only be enhanced by creating
smokefree environments where all Victorian families can enjoy outdoor dining
without a side of smoke,” Fiona Sharkie, Executive Director of Quit Victoria said.
“The effects of secondhand smoke are well known,” AMA Victoria President Dr
Parnis said. “Cigarette smoke can cause eye and nose irritation and in the longer term
can lead to heart disease and lung cancer as well as exacerbate asthma in children and adults.”
The CEO of Cancer Council Victoria, Todd Harper, says secondhand smoke is a known carcinogen and the US Surgeon General has declared there is no safe level of
secondhand smoke exposure.
“Making outdoor dining smokefree is an important preventative health measure, and it also makes good business sense when 86% of Victorians don’t smoke.”
To contribute to Victoria’s smokefree laws go to freshairfresh.com.au. Consultation ends on May 17, 2013.