Outdoor play areas will be smoke-free

BENDIGO Junior Football League has welcomed new smoking bans near underage sporting events.

Smoking will be prohibited within 10 metres of  sporting venues during organised underage sporting events from Tuesday.

The bans are statewide and also apply to outdoor public children’s playground equipment, skate parks and the outdoor areas of public swimming pools.

Bendigo Junior Football League John Hewitt said the bans would complement the league's own attempts to ensure playing grounds were smoke-free.

"It’s a great idea," he said.

"We’ve already got signs up at what is our home base at the moment.

"This will give us more authority to enforce the bans. Being a new law, it’s a requirement."

Mr Hewitt said match-day officials were not allowed to smoke while performing duties.

"Parents are not supposed to smoke but you do get an occasional one," he said.

"And goal umpires might go and have a smoke at the quarter-time break."

Mr Hewitt said the league tried to stop people smoking near Harry Trott Oval during games.

"If someone smokes in front of the building at Harry Trott we ask them to move away," he said.

"I guess we'll ask them to move further now."

The ban is part of a range of measures the state government has introduced to reduce the exposure of children and young people to second-hand tobacco smoke and smoking behaviours.

Sporting venue staff, operators and volunteers will not be expected to enforce the ban.

The government expects compliance to occur through a public education and awareness campaign.

Council inspectors authorised under the Tobacco Act 1987 might also provide information about and, when necessary, enforce the bans and issue a fine.

Non-smokers who suffer long-term exposure to environmental tobacco smoke have a 20 to 30 per cent higher risk of developing lung cancer than non-smokers who are not exposed. 

For more information about the new ban, go to the tobacco reforms section of the Victorian government’s Department of Health website: www.health.vic.gov.au/tobaccoreforms

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