Sharing our views on a smoke free peninsula

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MEMBERS of the community are invited to share their thoughts on Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s draft Smoke Free Environment Policy.

Community consultation on the draft Policy is open until Monday 7 October.

The initiative stems from the council’s public health and wellbeing plan and the Frankston Mornington Peninsula smoke free charter.

The charter encourages the shire, other public land owners, businesses and community groups to provide smoke free public areas and implement programs to reduce smoking rates in the community.

Many local businesses have joined the charter by providing smoke-free areas, such as at Bentons Square and Mornington Central shopping centres.

The draft smoke free environment policy, and the charter, support the tobacco and alcohol compliance element of the shire’s food safety program Best Bites.

The policy assesses local food businesses on measures they are taking to provide safe and healthy food, use environmentally sustainable business practices, and provide safe and accessible food premises.

The draft smoke free environment policy aims to improve our health and wellbeing protecting people from second-hand smoke, de-normalising smoking behaviours (important in discouraging children from taking up smoking), establishing smoke-free areas, and supporting those who have quit or who are trying to quit by removing visual cues and triggers.

The shire says state government laws are inconsistent when it comes to limiting smoking on beaches and footpaths: smoking is only banned at patrolled beaches and footpath dining areas, people can smoke at other beaches and on footpath seating where only drinks or snacks are served, and smoking is currently not banned in camping areas or bush reserves.

The mayor Cr David Gill said: “The benefits to the health of the community and the natural environment are clear, and as part of our commitment to council’s public health and wellbeing plan, we’re interested to hear from the community about creating a smoke free Mornington Peninsula.”

He urges people to share their thoughts, questions and concerns about the draft policy. “Research has shown that smoking bans at outdoor dining and drinking areas and other smoke free outdoor areas are supported by 73 per cent of Victorians,” he said.

“As well, cigarette butts account for nearly half of all litter collected across Australia.

“Council is passionate about creating a healthier, happier and cleaner Mornington Peninsula, and is extremely interested in hearing from the community about their thoughts on the draft policy.”

Consistent and simple smoke-free laws could help reduce second hand smoke exposure, encourage families to use public land and local food retailers, and will greatly reduce the amount of cigarette butt litter, he said.

Have a say online at: mornpen.vic.gov.au/haveyoursay.

Fill in a form available at the shire’s offices at Rosebud, Mornington, Hastings and Somerville.

Email submissions to: haveyoursay@mornpen.vic.gov.au with the subject line Draft Smoke Free Environment Policy.

Post submissions to:

Attention: Environment Protection Unit
Re: Draft Smoke Free Environment Policy
Mornington Peninsula Shire
Private Bag 1000, Rosebud 3939

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 17 September 2019

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