Butting out for health

August 03, 2017

Smoking will be banned in all outdoor eating areas from August 1.

Smokers in Victoria butt out their cigarettes for the last time on Monday.

As of August 1, 2017, an amendment to the Tobacco Act banned smoking in all outdoor dining areas where food is available for consumption.

The change will affect restaurants, cafes, take-away shops and licensed premises including all courtyard and footpath dining areas.

In addition, smoking will now be banned in all outdoor drinking areas if any part of that area is within 4m of an outdoor dining area.

A designated outdoor smoking area will need to be separated from dining areas by a 4m buffer zone or a wall which is at least 2.1m high.

Carmen Fifield, owner of The Brewers Table in Seymour, believes the changes will probably have a positive impact on her business.

‘‘We’re a very family friendly restaurant and I think the mentality of people has changed a lot in the last few years,’’ Ms Fifield said.

‘‘I think it’s the way we’re moving as a society and people have come to expect that now they’re able to go somewhere and eat without people smoking in their faces.’’

As a reformed smoker herself, Ms Fifield said she was aware some might feel frustrated by the new laws but that the changes were inevitable.

‘‘We don’t have a huge amount of people who smoke out here and they’re quite discreet about it,’’ she said.

‘‘I remember working in pubs and I think when those changes started to happen it had a real knock-on effect to everything.’’

As The Brewers Table serves meals between 7am and 5pm during the week, and until the close of their dinner service on Friday and Saturday nights, the new laws rule out smoking during their entire opening hours.

Because it’s a licensed area, smoking will be banned on their front footpath as well as in their rear courtyard.

The new legislation will impact beer gardens, winery cellar doors and food stalls at public events and festivals.

Outdoor events will be monitored on the basis of the purpose of the event.

If the event is a food festival, smoking will be banned entirely.

At other outdoor events, smokers will be unable to light up within 10m of a food stall or vendor.

It is unclear at this stage how local pubs and beer gardens will adapt to the changes.

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