Sporting community welcomes anti-smoking law change

SPORTING associations in Ballarat have welcomed a state government law that has banned smoking near junior sport events, but admit it might take some time to become entrenched in people’s minds.

New anti-smoking laws came into effect yesterday, making it illegal for people to smoke within 10 metres of a sporting ground, among other areas including playgrounds, skate parks and public pools.

The new law extends to all sporting grounds during matches, as well as at training sessions and intervals between play, such as quarter time or between events.

AFL Goldfields region general manager Rod Ward said all football and netball clubs within the region had been made aware of the laws, with more information packs to be sent out throughout the week.

Although the league or clubs themselves do not have any power to issue penalties, Ward said it was more about the education aspect, rather than imposing penalties.

Council law enforcement officers are given the duty of imposing the penalties.

“It’s not as if we expect there is going to be a 100 per cent compliance from day one,” Ward said.

“It is more about the education aspect of it. We expect the community to commit to it and make it a part of people’s mindset.”

Ballarat District Soccer Association president Herman Bogers also welcomed the new law.

Although there were already certain smoking restrictions for officials and coaches in junior BDSA games, he said it was good to see further laws introduced across the state.

Junior sporting competitions for winter seasons in Ballarat will start in the coming weeks.

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