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Over the last few years, a number of new laws controlling tobacco have come into effect in Victoria. These laws include:

  • A ban on the display of tobacco products at point-of-sale with an exemption for certified 'specialist tobacconists'
  • Smoking bans in a motor vehicle if a person under the age of 18 years is present
  • A ban on the sale of tobacco products from temporary outlets
  • A power for the Minister of Health to ban the sale of certain tobacco products and packaging that appeal to young people, and
  • Amendments to penalties and enforcement provisions.

These laws have been put in place to help keep the Victorian community free from tobacco-related illnesses. The Council's Environmental Health Department is responsible for ensuring that all premises within the Rural City of Wangaratta are compliant with these laws.

Outdoor dining smoking bans

Smoking is banned:

  • in outdoor areas at hospitality and food venues used for eating food. This includes footpath dining areas, courtyards and beer gardens during times food is being eaten, or is available to be eaten
  • in all outdoor areas at food fairs. A food fair is an event where the principal activity is the supply of food for consumption at the event
  • within 10 metres of a food stall or food vendor at organised outdoor event (other than a food fair).

To complement smoke-free outdoor dining, smoking is banned in an outdoor drinking area if any part of that area is within 4 metres of an outdoor dining area, unless separated by a wall of at least 2.1 metres high. This means the two areas can be separated by either:

  • a 4 metre buffer zone; or
  • a wall of at least 2.1 metres high.

If the separation requirement is not met, smoking is banned in an outdoor drinking area. This law applies to the same venue as well as to neighboring venues.

Smoke free areas

Smoke-free areas are important as they:

  • protect the community from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke
  • make smoking in the community less acceptable - the less people see smoking in public places the less they will tend to think it is okay, rather than harmful
  • support people who have quit or are trying to quit smoking.

Amendments to the Tobacco Act have extended the areas where smoking is banned across Victoria. Smoke-free areas include:

  • entrances to indoor children’s play centres, public hospitals and registered community health centres, and certain Victorian Government buildings
  • the grounds of, and entrances to, childcare centres, kindergartens, preschools and primary and secondary schools
  • outdoor recreational areas, including playground equipment, skate parks and sporting venues during under-age sporting events
  • outdoor areas of public swimming pools
  • patrolled beaches
  • enclosed workplaces
  • train stations, tram-stop platforms and tram and bus shelters
  • under-age music or dance events.
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