Victoria, Australia - govt doesn't want to hear about it - possible smoking ban in outside dining areas..

September 23, 2010 - The Victoria state government has committed to cut adult smokers by 25 per cent. But a spokeswoman for the Health Minister refused to comment on whether the government supported a stronger stance on outdoor smoking at restaurants. "We are focussed on delivering the key element of our last round of tobacco reforms which is banning the display of tobacco products at non-specialist businesses," she said. (Interesting read: Why the tobacco industry fears point of sale display bans, T Harper, Tob Control. 2006 June; 15(3): 270–271 - FULL TEXT) "Victoria is the first jurisdiction to set a tobacco target to drive down the number of adult smokers by 25 per cent."

Opposition health spokesman David Davis said the Coalition will look "favourably" at the Australian Medical Association (AMA's) proposal to extend the smoking bans. The State Opposition is expected to announce a series of strong anti-smoking policy positions ahead of the November 27 state election.

An online poll today showed readers of would support a ban on outdoor smoking. It came as as a peak medical lobby group called on Victoria to ban smoking in outdoor dining areas, after new laws in Western Australia took effect this week.

An online poll of more than 1000 people found 60.08 percent of readers backed the idea spruiked (embellished to make more appealing or acceptable) by the AMA. AMA Victoria president Dr Harry Hemley says after showing leadership in anti-tobacco legislation. Dr Hemley called on the state government and opposition to offer anti-tobacco strategies ahead of the November poll.

Dr Hemley: "A ban on smoking in outdoor dining areas would strengthen the message to the community that smoking is no longer viewed as normal, but is an unnecessary and unhealthy habit."

Queensland banned smoking in all commercial outdoor eating and drinking areas in 2006 while Western Australia's smoking ban in alfresco dining areas began yesterday.

Reference: THE State Government has committed to cut adult smokers by 25 percent, Stephen McMahon with Shannon Deery, Australian Associated Press (AAP), Herald Sun, 9/23/2010.

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