Smoking ban gets tick of approval

RAILWAY stations and tram stops are set to be smoke free after the state government extended a smoking ban on public transport spaces on Sunday.

Minister for Health David Davis and Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder announced changes to the Transport Regulations, which prohibit smoking anywhere on railway station platforms and raised platforms at tram stops.

The new changes will come into effect from early 2014.

City of Greater Bendigo Environmental Health and Local Laws manager Susannah Milne said the council welcomed this step by the government.

She said the new ban was an extension to previous laws and that it made sense for public transport users.

“People are entitled to use public transport without it impacting their health and wellbeing,” Ms Milne said.

Previously smoking had been banned only in covered areas of train platforms and within tram and bus shelters.

Mr Davis said the new ban would improve the health and wellbeing of other commuters.

“These new bans in public transport areas are extending the no-go zones for smokers in the community,” he said.

 “They build on initiatives by the Coalition government to reduce the impact of tobacco and second-hand smoke on the health of the community.”

Mr Mulder said the government was also considering even wider bans on smoking in public transport areas.

“Our initiatives will help eliminate what for many people is an unpleasant experience in being exposed to second-hand smoke while they are waiting for or alighting from trams and trains,” he said.

The new ban builds on reforms the government introduced last year that banned smoking at patrolled beaches.

The fine for smoking within covered areas of station platforms, tram stops and bus shelters is $212 for adults and $72 for children.

The same fine will now apply to smoking anywhere on railway station platforms and raised platforms at tram stops.

Fines for smoking can be issued by Authorised Officers, Protective Services Officers and Police.