New laws banning smoking in outdoor dining areas come into force from 1 August, meaning Victorians and their families will be able to enjoy a meal outside, away from the deadly dangers of second-hand smoke.
The ban covers all restaurants, cafés, take-away shops and licenced premises, including beer gardens, courtyards and footpath dining where food, other than snacks, is served.
Smoking will also be banned at food fairs and organised outdoor events such as street and community festivals, local school fetes, sporting events or craft markets where there are food stalls.
This is part of the Andrews Labor Government’s work to reduce the harm caused by smoking and to support more Victorians to quit for good.
These bans mean more people can enjoy meals outside in a healthy, smoke-free environment, while the reduced visibility of smokers will also help de-normalise smoking for young people.
The laws allow businesses flexibility regarding how they can use their outdoor areas. We have provided businesses with extensive support to get ready for smoke-free outdoor dining, including a dedicated Tobacco Information Line, a suite of guides and factsheets, and around 330,000 free ‘no smoking’ signs.
Local councils have also received financial support to help enforce the bans, with 350 council officers attending training sessions and 180 local law officers appointed to enforce the smoking bans at food fairs and near food stalls at outdoor events.
This is supported by the Labor Government’s ‘Smoking is off the menu’ community campaign which is promoting the bans across radio, social media, and search engines, as well as on street furniture.
Individuals caught smoking in an outdoor dining area face a fine of $159, with a maximum court ordered penalty of $793.
Businesses face fines of $793, with a maximum court ordered penalty of $7,924. Businesses also risk the same fine for failing to display ‘no smoking’ signs.
Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable chronic disease and of preventable deaths. About 4,000 lives are lost each year in Victoria due to smoking, costing $2.4 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy
“The evidence is clear. Second-hand smoke puts the health of non-smoking diners at risk.”
“From August 1, everyone will be able to enjoy meals outside, with family and friends, in fresh air and free from the deadly dangers of second hand smoke.”
“Victoria has a vibrant outdoor café culture. We are lucky to have some of the best chefs serving up scrumptious food in our colourful hidden laneways and popular beer gardens. Now, thanks our new laws, smoking is off the menu.”