No smoking ban for Wodonga

No smoking ban for Wodonga

A SMOKING ban in Wodonga’s business district is not on the city’s radar.

Wodonga mayor Mark Byatt said council may look at the results of a new six-month trial at Frankston, but said a ban on smoking in public areas was not on council’s agenda because of the Border city’s main street shopping and business infrastructure.

“They’ve got malls, we haven’t got malls,.” Cr Byatt said.

“But it’s something that could come onto the radar as the central business district develops down the track.

“There will be some learnings from these trials that can potentially be useful for other local government bodies and I think that’s important.”

Yesterday Frankston Council put in place Victoria’s harshest smoking restrictions, with a ban on outdoor smoking along the town’s main shopping strip.

Anyone caught smoking in the non-smoking zones could be fined $110 during a test of new laws.

The new regulations could become permanent next year if deemed successful.

Quit Victoria hoped the Frankston ban would prompt other councils to follow suit.

Data co-ordinated by Cancer Council Victoria showed that 24 people died from smoking related illness every year in the Wodonga Local Government Area.

Cancer Council Victoria and the Heart Foundation have praised the move and hoped other councils will institute similar smoke-free policies to promote good health.

Quit executive director Fiona Sharkie said most smokers want to quit and “smoke-free areas give those smokers a reason not to light up”.

“As for non-smokers, smoke-free areas not only help protect people from second-hand smoke, but also de-normalise smoking for children so they are less likely to take up the habit later in life,” she said.

Julie Bensted from Baranduda has been trying to get her partner David Reynolds to quit smoking for years.

“It definitely should be banned in public areas, I find it horrible walking behind somebody when smoke is trailing behind, the smell is disgusting,” Ms Bensted said.

Dusty Lyons is trying to quit smoking for the sake of his baby son but doesn’t think it’s worth Wodonga Council pushing for a ban.

“They don’t really have the alfresco areas to push it here,” Mr Lyons said.

His partner Jonae Quayle, who smokes occasionally, said a ban would have little impact on curbing her habit.

The Frankston ban begins as new Cancer Council Victoria research shows more smokers are in favour of similar proposals than ever before.

Six out of 10 smokers in Victoria believe smoking should be banned in outdoor places where children are present, compared to four out of 10 smokers in 2004.