Change to laws banning smoking brought forward from June 30

LAWS banning smoking within four meters of public buildings are now in effect.

Residents can no longer light up close to childcare centres, kindergartens and pre-schools, primary and secondary schools, indoor play centres, public hospitals, community health centres and some state government buildings, including government departments, courts and police stations.

The state government bans were brought forward from June 30 to protect the community from second-hand tobacco smoke exposure, to de-normalise smoking and to support people who have or are trying to quit.

Ballarat Health Services chief executive officer Andrew Rowe said there was strong community support for banning smoking in public places.

“BHS has been a designated smoke-free zone for a number of years and we fully support these new bans,” Mr Rowe said.

“Smoking has considerable health effects on the community and we will continue to educate the public on the risks associated with smoking.

“We ask that patients and visitors respect the new bans and everyone’s right to a smoke-free environment.

“We want to make sure that people are able to come and go from our buildings without being affected by second-hand smoke.”

People caught smoking in off-limit areas risk on-the-spot fines of $147.

State Health Minister Jill Hennessy said about 4000 Victorians died annually due to smoking, which also costs about $2.4 billion in direct health costs and lost productivity each year.

“Too many Victorians still die from smoking,” Ms Hennessy said.

“These bans are a key step in reducing the harm caused by tobacco.”

Smoking is also banned at train stations and raised platform tram stops, patrolled beaches and within 10m of playgrounds and skate parks, sporting venues during under-18 events and within public swimming pool grounds.

fiona.henderson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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