Smoke free zone
NEW smoking bans came into effect recently under the Andrews Labor Government.
Established under the Tobacco Amendment Act 2014, smoking is now banned on the grounds of, and within four metres of an entrance to, hospitals and community health services, schools, childcare centres, kindergartens and preschools, and many government buildings including Parliament, courts and police stations.
Leongatha Primary School assistant principal Leonnie McCluskey said the ban is an extension of the rules already in place at the school.
“We have new signs to put on the gates and around our entrances,” Ms McCluskey said.
“This is great for the children and the school. We all know what smoking can do and I’m sure parents will take it on board.”
Ms McCluskey said the school has been a smoke free zone and there haven’t been any issues with parents in the past.
Staff on yard duty will help police the four metre rule.
There will be no changes made to the smoking rules at the hospitals in Leongatha, Wonthaggi and Korumburra, which are already smoke free zones.
“I think the new laws are a reasonable action as some patients in hospitals can be more vulnerable to smoke,” Gippsland Southern Health Service CEO Mark Johnson said.
“I was glad to hear it was to be enforced and we haven’t had any breaches of our policies. We have an offsite area designated for smoking.”
Bass Coast Regional Health will be implementing new signs.
The ban will apply to more than 2200 primary and secondary schools, 4200 kindergartens and childcare centres, and 149 public hospitals and health services across Victoria.
“I urge everyone to avoid smoking near school entrances and so respect the rights of our children to enjoy clean air,” Minister for Education James Merlino said.
“These bans are a vital step in reducing the normalisation of smoking for our young people. The more they see smoking in public, the more they think smoking is okay when we all know it’s not.”
People caught smoking in these off limit areas risk on the spot fines of $147.
The maximum penalty under the legislation is five penalty units, which is currently $738.
“Too many Victorians still die from smoking. These bans are a key step in reducing harm caused by tobacco,” Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said.
“Hospitals are where we go to heal. We want to ensure patients and their visitors aren’t subjected to second hand smoke.”
Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos said young children and babies are especially vulnerable to the dangers of second hand smoke.
“We want to make sure the places where our children learn and grow are smoke free,” she said.
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