The smoking ban which comes into force in Victoria today (13 April) will protect children from the dangers of second-hand smoke and will help ensure they do not see smoking as a normal adult habit.
VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter congratulated the State Government on introducing the smoking ban which applies to the grounds of, and within four metres of an entrance to, schools, childcare centres, kindergartens and preschools, hospitals and community health services, and many government buildings including courts, police stations and Parliament.
Ms Rechter said: "Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the state and continues to kill 4,000 Victorians every year, costing the community $2.4 billion in direct health costs and lost productivity annually.
"Today’s ban will benefit everyone in the community and protect them from second-hand smoke when they go about their daily lives. In particular, it will protect schoolchildren at more than 2200 primary and secondary schools and babies and toddlers at 4200 kindergartens and pre-schools in Victoria who are returning to school this week.
"Smokefree areas are more than about protecting people from passive smoke. They’re also about ensuring that children don’t view smoking as an acceptable behaviour. The more children we can discourage from taking up smoking, the more lives we will save in the future."
Ms Rechter said the ban would also help smokers who are trying to kick the habit.
"Eight in 10 Victorian smokers have tried to quit at least once and many smokers will need multiple attempts to kick the habit. More smokefree areas will encourage people not to light up, but also means non-smokers can enjoy clean air around buildings they visit every day.
"There is strong community support for smokefree areas and I am confident smokers will act responsibly, and as with other smokefree areas that have been introduced in the past, refrain from smoking anywhere this ban applies," Ms Rechter added.