Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Shepparton leads way in smoking ban

Shepparton's council and dining establishments have welcomed the Victorian Government's decision to introduce a statewide ban on smoking in outdoor dining areas.

JENNA BISHOP August 6, 2014 3:47am

Little Lipari Cafe's Claire Di Stefano.

Greater Shepparton City Council believes the region has shown the way with a successful year-long initiative to ban smoking in outdoor dining areas, after a statewide ban was announced on Monday.

Shepparton dining establishments have also welcomed the ban’s announcement, saying it is the next logical step following the local ban.

However, some say there are still enforcement issues with the local ban.


The council’s neighbourhoods manager Amanda Tingay said Shepparton was one of two local government areas to implement the anti-smoking measures.

‘‘We can promote a real opportunity to denormalise smoking to support change,’’ she said.

‘‘We’re proud to be one of the first to denormalise smoking.’’

Ms Tingay said it was a great opportunity to promote healthy dining environments and reduce the impact of smoking on other patrons.

City of Greater Shepparton councillors voted in March to extend the 12-month trial indefinitely, which applies to outdoor dining areas on council land.

Quit Victoria statistics say at least 44 people die from smoking each year in Greater Shepparton.

Little Lipari owner Claire Di Stefano said some customers still regularly smoked in outdoor dining areas, despite staff asking them not to.


‘‘They still sit in the non-smoking area and butt out on the ground,’’ Mrs Di Stefano said.

Some respondents to a March survey on the trial’s progress noted the introduction of the ban had affected trading.

Mrs Di Stefano said people were less likely to choose a place to eat if people were still smoking in outdoor eating areas.

Survey respondents also noted many benefits from the trial, including cleaner outdoor areas and fewer loitering customers.

Friars Cafe owner Tim Guppy said while he had not noticed people smoking in banned areas, he had heard it was happening in Shepparton.

He said outdoor diners who wished to smoke could sit in a separate section of the cafe.

‘‘I think people are really appreciating the fact that they can sit outside and not have cigarette smoke blowing in their face from two tables away,’’ he said.

Degani Bakery Cafe Shepparton proprietor Luke Hedger said patrons were not deliberately smoking in trial ban zones at the cafe.

‘‘I think it’s more about people’s judgment of where 10m is, sometimes they’re not quite far enough,’’ he said.

Mr Hedger believed the introduction of a ban would mean smoking in outdoor dining areas would become unpopular, similar to when smoking in pubs and clubs was banned.

‘‘I think it will be the end of a social pastime. You wouldn’t dream of going to a pub or club and smoking now,’’ he said.

Victorian Health Minister David Davis said legislation for the ban would be introduced into parliament through the Tobacco Amendment Bill shortly.

However, a date for the ban to be implemented is yet to be determined.

Mr Davis said it would be within the next term of government following a consultation period with key industry stakeholders and businesses.

‘‘This is a significant and necessary step in protecting the Victorian community from the harms of smoking. Evidence shows there is strong community support for further efforts to protect children from exposure to the damaging effects of smoking,’’ he said.

‘‘The Napthine Government recognises that the ban will affect a wide range of small, medium and large businesses, and that sufficient time must be provided to allow them to adjust to the new law.’’

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