Over the past few years a number of new laws controlling tobacco have come into effect in Victoria. The Victorian Tobacco Control Strategy 2008–2013 is a major Victorian Government initiative which will make important advances in the fight against cancer and the epidemic of preventable chronic disease.
Council’s Health Unit offers advice and assistance on all tobacco and smoking related issues and responds to all tobacco related complaints. An annual tobacco test purchasing program is conducted to ensure that tobacco retailers within the municipality are not selling cigarettes to persons under the age of 18 years. Additionally, annual inspections of all tobacco retailers and licensed premises with outdoor dining/drinking areas are accessed for compliance under the Tobacco Act 1987.
State Government Tobacco and Smoking laws include:
- A ban on smoking in cars if a person under 18 years is present.
- A ban on sale of cigarettes at temporary outlets (e.g. horse races).
- A ban on certain fruit flavoured cigarettes.
- A ban on display of tobacco products.
- A ban on smoking at playgrounds, outdoor swimming pools, skate parks and sporting venues
What is the policy?
From January 1, 2014, all Council operated sites, facilities and outdoor areas within 10 metres of an entrance to Council operated buildings are smoke free.
This new Council policy is one of number of measures to be introduced by Council and the State Government to reduce the exposure to second-hand smoke, help de-normalise smoking and encourage smokers to consider quitting.
In addition to WCC workplaces and facilities, Warrnambool’s sporting facilities, playgrounds, pool and skate parks are also now smoke free.
Why has Council introduced this policy?
Smoking tobacco is the main cause of preventable death in our community. Of the 45 avoidable deaths in Warrnambool in 2008, 7 out of 10 were attributed to smoking related illnesses. As a percentage, smoking related deaths in Warrnambool are higher than the state average (13.1 per cent of deaths, compared to 11.9 per cent)
The Warrnambool Health and Wellbeing Profile shows smoking rates for both men and women are higher than the state average. A key priority of the Warrnambool Health and Wellbeing Plan 2013-17 is to address the prevalence of smoking and tobacco-related illness.
Council cares about the health of staff and people who visit our facilities. Evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to second hand smoke and so creating safe, smoke-free environments in and around Council facilities is an obvious way to reduce the health risk.
What does this mean?
All Council operated facilities and venues, and within 10 metres of all WCC building entrances, are now smoke free.
Smoke free areas include:
- The whole Civic Precinct including public footpaths in front of and behind the Civic Centre, Old Post Office (West Wing) and Lighthouse Theatre*.
- Flagstaff Hill/Visitor Information Centre precinct (including the Village) and within 10 metres of building entrances.
- The Depot and Saleyard sites*.
- Within 10 metres of all entrances at WAG, ARC Stadium, Springers Gymnastics Centre, buildings at Surfside and Shipwreck Caravan Parks (including the park offices, kiosks, camp kitchens and amenity blocks).
- Areas within the site boundary, and within 10 metres of the entrances of community centres, kindergartens, childcare centres and Aquazone.
- All playgrounds, skateparks, and sporting facilities ( ie ovals and playing fields)
* Designated smoking areas, away from building entrances and public view, are provided at some facilities.
From April 1, 2014, new smoking laws apply to sports facilities and buildings owned and managed by Warrnambool City Council.
Under these new laws smoking is banned at these buildings and sports facilities at all times.
Smoking is also banned within 10 metres of all Council owned and managed playgrounds, the skate park and AquaZone.
The smoking restrictions apply within the fenced area of a sports ground or facility – including the playing area and all buildings.
Where there is no fence the ban applies within 10 metres of the playing area and all buildings.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Warrnambool.
About 23 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women living in Warrnambool currently smoke. This is higher than the Victorian average.
There is no “safe” level of exposure to second-hand smoke. Children are particularly susceptible as they have smaller and less developed airways than adults.
De-normalising smoking and reducing the visibility of smokers for children and young people will help show that smoking is not behaviour to be encouraged.
“There is already a high level of awareness within the community about the health risks associated with smoking, including the inhalation of second-hand smoke,” said Mayor Michael Neoh.
“The banning of smoking at sports grounds and council buildings is a logical extension of existing smoking restrictions.
“Given that council invests significant funds into sport programs, reserves and facilities it is appropriate that we take action on this health issue.”
Cr Neoh said that the general approach to the smoking bans at sports facilities will be one of encouragement rather than enforcement.
“This will be a gradual process of people becoming more aware of where they can and cannot smoke,” he said.
“If ongoing issues arise in relation to the bans the Council will assist where appropriate.”
Maps for some popular Council owned and operated sports and recreation facilities can be found above. The area highlighted on each map is the no smoking zone.
For further details contact your sports club or Warrnambool City Council's Recreation Department on 5559 4952 or firstname.lastname@example.org