Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Councils in Victoria have asked the State Government to ban smoking in all public outdoor areas. The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) have already asked the Baillieu Government to ban smoking in alfresco dining areas and playgrounds, but are now asking the bands be extended to beaches, school entrances and sports grounds. This came about after a motion was put forward by local councils at a state meeting earlier this year. A government spokesperson informed Neos Kosmos that “the Minister for Health is currently speaking with a range of stakeholders regarding possible directions for anti-smoking measures in Victoria. These discussions will inform consideration of further government action in this area”. Monash counsellor, Stephen Dimopoulos told Neos Kosmos that the reason the local councils are going down the MAV line is because it’s a statewide issue and not just a matter for each council separately. “When (the Victorian Government) banned smoking in nightclubs, they didn’t just do it by municipality, they did it across the state and that’s a fairer way of doing it. So if we are to move to a situation where there is no smoking at outdoor cafes, we wouldn’t be doing it in Monash alone because then Monash businesses would suffer at the expense of businesses in Stonnington, for example,” he said. When asked if business would suffer, Cr Mary Lalios of the Municipality of Victoria told Neos Kosmos that the “same debate occurred when smoking was banned from indoor eating areas”.“The proposal is there to build upon initiatives already underway in some municipalities and takes into account research about community attitudes, adverse health impacts and potential benefits. If the state takes up the recommendations, businesses will be consulted,” Lalios said. “A key principle guiding these recommendations is giving the community the tools to determine smoke-free areas backed up by awareness raising and community development activities which promote the benefits of making some public outdoor places smoke-free. The proposal also extends to children’s playgrounds.” Lalios said although it’s an individual’s choice to smoke, a nonsmoker hasn’t chosen to be a passive smoker. “I believe that people can smoke as long as it doesn’t have detrimental effects on those around them, through passive smoking. There are national benchmarks to reduce tobacco use and these are set out in the Victorian Health Priority Framework 2012-22.” Neos Kosmos asked the readers on facebook what they thought of the smoking bans. Here’s what you said: “Bloody nanny state….. NOOOOOO! So why don’t they stop all the take away shops which provide fat food since we have so much obesity in Australia. Or maybe stop cars driving and polluting the air. Better still make us all stop farting and tax us on that (carbon tax). Why pick on the smokers? Bloody stupid government.” – Anna Stergiou-Konstantakis. “I’ve just given up the ciggies, but it was my choice. Banning outdoor smoking is ridiculous. We’re grown ups!” – John Petropoulos. “Yes and if they banned all pain then they wouldn’t need to ban smoking because no one would do it if there was just a Happy state (of mind)” – Anna Mihalaras.