Making more areas smoke-free
Council is working to reduce the harms caused by smoking by moving towards making some areas in Yarra smoke-free.
Lung cancer is the second-highest cause of avoidable deaths in Yarra. Almost 20% of Yarra residents aged over 18 years smoke, which is slightly higher than the Victorian average.
At its November 2011 meeting, Council decided to incorporate smoking bans in playgrounds and around entrances to Council facilities (such as town halls, leisure centres and child care centres) in a review of its Environment Local Law.
The local law is due to be reviewed in 2012. Community members will have opportunities to provide feedback on a draft local law before it is adopted by Council.
At its November meeting, Council also decided to lobby the State Government to introduce statewide smoking bans near playgrounds, entrances to public buildings, parks, beaches, government-funded outdoor events and alfresco dining areas. Council also resolved that it would work towards making Yarra’s parks, Council-funded events and footpath dining areas significantly smoke-free by 2015, if the State Government had not introduced bans by then.
In coming months, local businesses may also be asked by Council whether they are interested in voluntarily creating smoke-free outdoor dining areas.
From April to September 2011, Council sought feedback from the community about making more areas in Yarra smoke-free including outdoor dining areas, playgrounds, sporting facilities and Council-run events. Here is a media release about Council's decision to put this issue on the local agenda.
Council sought feedback through several means, including an online discussion forum hosted by Bang the Table. That forum has concluded but you can still visit the page to read what local people had to say.
Community feedback showed a mixed response to the proposed bans, with about 36% of the 212 people who made submissions expressing support for more bans and 25% opposing them. Overall, there was general support for bans in playgrounds and around Council facilities.
Some local businesses who were opposed to bans in outdoor dining areas said it would be fairer if statewide bans were introduced.
Anti-smoking signs near playgrounds
In 2011, signs asking people to avoid smoking were installed near about 25 playgrounds in Yarra. While Council is yet to introduce a ban on smoking near playgrounds, the signs ask people to consider the health of children by not smoking in the area.
Health Promotion Officer
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