MOST Victorians want to see smoking in outdoor dining areas banned, a new Cancer Council Victoria survey has shown.
The "Attitudes towards smoking at outdoor dining areas" report found the majority of smokers would not be deterred from visiting dining establishments, restaurants and cafes if an outdoor smoking ban was in place.
It also found public attitudes for outdoor smoking bans in dining areas had changed substantially in a decade, with support increasing from 58 per cent in 2004 to 72 per cent in 2014.
Cancer Council Victoria's Kylie Lyndorff put the findings down to the fact most people, including smokers, did not like others smoking around them while they were eating.
Ms Lyndorff said there was an increasing expectation that public spaces should be smoke free.
The fact the survey indicated people would still attend establishments with the bans showed previous concern bans would harm businesses were unfounded, she said.
"The argument that it’s bad for business doesn't hold water," she said.
She said Victorians were "fed up with why we don't have it" and needed to catch up to other states.
"People know we are the only state which doesn’t have outdoor smoking bans," she said.
Bendigo Business Council chief executive Patrick Falconer said some Bendigo businesses were already taking the lead when it came to restricting outdoor smoking areas.
"Restaurants and pubs are smart enough to realise if it exists in other states, it will ultimately come to Victoria, and they are prepared for it," he said.
Pugg Mahones, which has a designated smoking area in one part, introduced non-smoking signs for meal times in its alfresco dining area about 12 months ago.
Owner Andrew Lethlean said it was a decision welcomed for the most part.
"Most smokers are happy to move to the designated area," he said.
The Coffee Business owner Bob Moncriess said his business had an informal no smoking rule in its outdoor dining area for about seven years.
Asked what he thought about it becoming a government policy, Mr Moncriess said he was "all for it, but we already do it now".