Smoking ban gets mixed reaction

Margaret Webster and Beau Sikorski, 19, both approve of the Victorian governments widening of smoking bans. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

Margaret Webster and Beau Sikorski, 19, both approve of the Victorian governments widening of smoking bans. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

RESIDENTS have mixed reactions about new smoking bans around Victorian schools, hospitals and police stations that came into force yesterday.

Smokers caught lighting up within four metres of a building where the ban applies faced an on-the-spot fine of $147.

Wodonga’s Margaret Webster, a smoker herself, agreed with the ban.

“It’s a great idea,” she said.

“Second-hand smoke can harm others, especially children.”

The ban also applies to courts, kindergartens, childcare centres, and maternal child and welfare facilities.

Wodonga’s Beau Sikorski, 19, who was walking outside Wodonga Court yesterday, had noticed smokers were standing at least four metres away from the entrance.

“I reckon it’s a good idea and they should ban smoking in jails as well,” he said.

Chris Stephen, of Wodonga, agreed to the ban in certain places like schools and hospitals, but questioned other places like police stations and courts.

“It’s not good to smoke around children, so I agree with the ban around schools,” he said.

Mr Stephen said smokers needed some places to enjoy a smoke.

Sandy Creek’s Janet Lohrman, a smoker who works in the health field, said it was easy enough to go off-site to have a cigarette.

Another smoker, Allison Murley, of Bairnsdale, did not believe smoking outdoors could cause harm.

“If you are out in the open then it doesn’t really hurt anyone,” she said.

The ban had been scheduled to start in July, but was brought forward for the start of the school term.

Smoking is already banned in Victoria’s playgrounds, skate parks, swimming pools and outdoor events.