New smoking bans will commence in three weeks’ time, brought forward by the Andrews Labor Government to protect more Victorians from secondhand smoke.
The bans, established under the Tobacco Amendment Act 2014, were due to come into effect on 30 June 2015 but will instead commence on Monday 13 April to coincide with the start of Term 2.
From Monday 13 April, smoking will be banned on the grounds of, and within four metres of an entrance to, hospitals and community health services, schools, childcare centres, kindergartens and preschools, and many government buildings including Parliament, courts and police stations.
The ban will apply to more than 2,200 primary and secondary schools, around 4,200 kindergartens and childcare centres, and 149 public hospitals and health services across Victoria.
People caught smoking in these off-limit areas risk on-the-spot fines of $147. The maximum penalty under the legislation is 5 penalty units, which is currently $738.
A campaign to remind Victorians about these new smoking bans commenced today, including print, radio and online advertising.
The Labor Government is committed to reducing tobacco-related harm in Victoria. About 4,000 Victorian lives are lost each year as a result of smoking, and it costs approximately $2.4 billion in direct health costs and lost productivity every year.
It was Labor that introduced Victoria’s first smoking bans in 2001, introducing bans on smoking in enclosed restaurants, then workplaces, pubs and clubs, and cars where children are present. Smoking is now also banned at train stations and raised platform tram stops, patrolled beaches, and within 10 metres of playgrounds and skate parks, sporting venues during under 18s events and within public swimming pool grounds.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy
“Too many Victorians still die from smoking. These bans are a key step in reducing the harm caused by tobacco.”
“Hospitals are where we go to heal. We want to ensure patients and their visitors aren’t subjected to secondhand smoke.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Education, James Merlino
“I urge everyone to avoid smoking near school entrances and so respect the rights of our children to enjoy clean air.”
“These bans are a vital step in reducing the normalisation of smoking for our young people. The more they see smoking in public, the more they might think smoking is okay when we all know it’s not.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos
“Young children and babies are especially vulnerable to dangers of secondhand smoke.”
“We want to make sure the places where our children learn and grow are smoke free.”