Bendigo local law review likely to reconsider where people can and cannot smoke

SPARKING DEBATE: Smoking will again be in legislators' firing line in 2017, with outdoor dining areas the next to go smoke-free.
SPARKING DEBATE: Smoking will again be in legislators' firing line in 2017, with outdoor dining areas the next to go smoke-free.

RELATED: Make Easter in Bendigo smoke-free: leaders

Smokers will be the subject of renewed scrutiny this year when state reforms and a City of Greater Bendigo local law review examine where people are permitted to indulge in the habit.  

But the community will be relied on to enforce the changes themselves, a council spokeswoman has said. 

From August 1 this year, smoking will no longer be permitted in outdoor dining areas and the habit will also be outlawed within 10 metres of food service areas at major events.

Environmental health and local laws manager Susannah Milne expected the statewide changes would kickstart a conversation at the council about where people could and could not smoke.

Ms Milne expected Hargreaves Mall would be among the areas for which a smoking ban was discussed. 

“It's starting to restrict further the areas that will be available for the public to smoke,” she said of the coming changes.

But without enough environmental health and local laws officers to police the reforms, smokers and the wider community would need to self-regulate, Ms Milne said.  

The renewed focus on public smoking comes after councillor Yvonne Wrigglesworth called on organisers of the 2018 Easter festival to rid the event of tobacco. 

Smokers who attended the event have also asked other cigarette consumers to conduct themselves respectfully.  

Bendigo resident Bree McMahon, a smoker of 20 years, said even she did not like people lighting up around her children. 

“You simply remove yourself from people, a good 20 or 30 metres back – it’s not hard to do,” Ms McMahon said. 

But she did not believe designated smoking areas were the answer, believing they would be too few and located inconveniently.

“You’d miss out on some of the parade, and why should we?” 

Ms Milne said the festival was promoted as a smoke-free long weekend.  

Sixty per cent of the 600 respondents to a Bendigo Advertiser poll said they believed smoking should be banned from the festival.