Smoke free signs are being installed in children’s playgrounds as part of Banyule Council’s Smoke Free Outdoor Areas Policy, which was adopted by Council earlier this year.
Smoke free outdoor areas are:
- Within 10 metres of children’s playground equipment;
- At all events run or sponsored by Banyule Council; and
- Within 10 metres of entrances of specified Council-owned buildings.
Advisory signs, progressively being installed, will indicate smoke free zones and encourage the community to go smoke free in these areas. Signs have already been installed at Council’s three Regional Play Spaces (including Possum Hollow in Warringal Parklands) and 24 Neighbourhood Playgrounds.
Griffin Ward Councillor Jenny Mulholland said the smoke free policy focuses on public health benefits and education rather than punitive enforcement.
The Smoke Free Outdoor Areas Policy follows community support for introducing smoke free outdoor areas. The Banyule community was surveyed and consulted between August 2011 and November 2012.
Banyule’s policy precedes the current Victorian Government’s intention, announced earlier this year, to ban smoking at children’s playgrounds, public swimming pools and sporting events.
According to Quit Victoria, smoking is the highest cause of avoidable death in Banyule (www.quit.org.au – The Big Kill) and the Victorian Population Health Survey of 2008 estimated that almost 21% of males and 15% of females in Banyule were smokers.
Cr Mulholland said all councillors supported the policy, recognising the substantial evidence linking exposure to second-hand smoke with a range of serious and life threatening health impacts.
“Children exposed to second hand smoke are at an increased risk of asthma, sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections and ear problems,” he said. “Now, in many parts of Banyule, and significantly in playgrounds, children and families can enjoy the great outdoors without breathing in other people’s smoke.”
“In addition to the health impacts, cigarettes are an environmental issue, with butts taking up to five years to break down. They are one of the most common items found during Clean Up Australia Day,” Cr Mulholland said.
“We are taking a stand to protect people from the negative health effects of second hand smoke as well as improving public amenity and the maintenance of council property.”