World No Tobacco Day is on Friday 31 May and Council is taking the opportunity to remind residents of the recent smoking bans at Ringwood Town Square and the new Croydon Town Square.
The Council-enforced ban, which came into effect on 1 January 2019, makes it illegal to light up, smoke or be in possession of an ignited tobacco product in either public place.
Maroondah Mayor, Councillor Rob Steane, said Council was committed to protecting the community from passive smoking by introducing bans in areas across the municipality.
“Council would like to remind those visiting Ringwood or Croydon town squares that smoking bans are now in force,” Cr Steane said.
“The smoking bans are in place to ensure that people can go out and enjoy spending time within these public spaces knowing they will not be subjected to the dangers of tobacco smoke,” he said.
Community consultation in late 2017 and again in early 2018 showed overwhelming support for both town squares becoming designated smoke-free zones.
“According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco kills around eight million people globally – that’s one person every four seconds. Further, a staggering one million people die prematurely from ‘passive smoking’ or exposure to second-hand smoke,” Cr Steane said.
“The focus of World No Tobacco Day 2019 is on ‘tobacco and lung health’. The annual campaign is an opportunity to raise awareness of the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, and to discourage the use of tobacco in any form,” he said.
On 1 August 2017, the Victorian Government introduced new laws banning smoking in all outdoor dining areas and where food is served, including organised outdoor community events such as street festivals.
Cr Steane said that as with past tobacco reforms, the latest changes enforced by Council aimed to further protect the community from the harmful effects of second-hand tobacco smoke.
“Council’s smoke-free ban also aims to reduce the visibility of smokers and the social acceptability of smoking behaviours, to de-normalise smoking for young people, whilst also supporting smokers to quit for good,” he said.
Under state laws, smoking is already banned at many public building entrances, train stations, in cars carrying children, around playgrounds and skate parks, within public swimming pool grounds, and around entrances to public hospitals, schools, childcare centres, kindergartens and preschools.
“Whilst we recognise that there has been much work by other levels of government to promote anti-smoking messages, Council has sought to respond at a local level to protect the health of our community by broadening these smoking ban measures to include both Croydon Town Square and Ringwood Town Square,” Cr Steane added.
The fine for smoking in a smoke-free area under Maroondah City Council Local Law is $200.