Smoking banned in playgrounds

BANNED: Victorian parliament passed legislation today to prohibit smoking at children's playgrounds and sporting venues where children are present. Picture: SEAN GALLUP, GETTY IMAGES NEWS
BANNED: Victorian parliament passed legislation today to prohibit smoking at children's playgrounds and sporting venues where children are present. Picture: SEAN GALLUP, GETTY IMAGES NEWS

VICTORIAN Parliament has passed legislation to ban smoking in children's playgrounds and at sporting events. 

The legislation was passed on Wednesday morning and will prohibit smoking at thousands of venues and locations across the state where children are present.

Smoking will be banned within a 10-metre radius of public swimming pools, children's playground equipment, sporting venues during underage events and skate parks. 

Victoria will be the first jurisdiction to introduce a statewide smoking ban at outdoor skate parks.

Sports Focus business manager Stuart Craig said he was pleased with the state government's decision.

"Smoking is an addiction and our children need to be protected from that negative influence," Mr Craig said. 

"Public pools and children’s playgrounds, including skate parks, are provided for the enjoyment of all and the introduction of this ban will enhance the experience for those who wish to take advantage of these facilities.

"Community standards have changed significantly over recent years in regards to smoking in a range of environments and the banning of smoking at children’s sporting venues is a further extension of this position."

Although Mr Craig supported the legislation he said he was concerned it would not come into effect until April 1. 

"This date is well after the warmer seasons, when most people enjoy these facilities,"  he said. 

Health Minister David Davis said the laws would protect those most vulnerable to the effects of second-hand cigarette smoke.

He said about 4,000 lives were lost each year in Victoria as a result of smoking, costing $2.4 billion in direct health costs and lost productivity. 

The laws build on reforms introduced last year which banned smoking at patrolled beaches.