A BALLARAT hotelier has backed calls to ban smoking in outdoor dining areas, following a new push by four Victorian health organisations.
The Victorian branches of the Australian Medical Association, the Heart Foundation, Cancer Council and Quit Victoria yesterday announced their joint position statement to the state government, recommending as a priority a statewide ban on smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas.
They also recommended bans in a range of outdoor public areas including within 10 metres of children’s playgrounds, within four metres of entrances to public buildings, within four metres of public transport stops, at sporting grounds, pedestrian malls and at public events, such as food and wine or music festivals.
Ballarat’s Golden City Hotel part-owner Simon Coghlan said he believed Victoria should move with the times and rule eating areas smoke-free.
But he cautioned against a “nanny-state” attitude towards spaces where food was not involved.
“From the perspective of any venue that’s involved in food I think it’s an entirely appropriate step to take,” he said. “I think it’s reasonable to expect anyone can sit down and enjoy a meal and not be hindered by smoking nearby. In non-eating areas there’s got to be some form of compromise.”
Mr Coghlan said it was a complicated issue in outdoor drinking areas, such as beer gardens, and in public areas, and planning was needed around the creation of separate, designated smoking areas.
A number of Ballarat pubs contacted by The Courier yesterday declined to comment on the issue.
Australian Hoteliers Association Ballarat Division president Ian Larkin said Ballarat publicans would discuss the recommendations if the government became involved.
“If the rule of law comes in we’ll discuss it then,” he said.
Mr Larkin said Ballarat pubs had already invested heavily in their smoking rooms to comply with laws passed down in recent years.
“Hotels have been virtually cleared of smoking ,” he said.
Ballarat smokers approached for comment by
Suzi Cartledge said while it was important to keep cigarette smoke away from children and other patrons in outdoor dining and drinking areas, she felt a total ban was unfair.