Mayor Alison Clarke said one-third of 210 residents surveyed on the issue supported the ban, while 23 per cent were opposed. The rest were unsure.
“There was general agreement that smoking bans near playgrounds are a no-brainer and should be introduced,” Cr Clarke said. “But when it came to bans being introduced in outdoor dining areas, there were strong views expressed both for and against.”
The council proposed in March to ban smoking in outdoor dining areas, council-owned or managed playgrounds, sport and recreation facilities, and council-run or sponsored events. The council has already installed signs near 25 playgrounds requesting people not light up.
The council will vote on the matter on November 22.
Comments from the council’s online consultation revealed those who support an extended ban would be more likely to visit cafes and other venues, as they object to second-hand smoke. Those who oppose the move have said the proposal would be a “nanny” by-law that would unfairly discriminate against smokers.
Last month the Municipal Association of Victoria proposed a statewide framework for banning smoking cheap Esse cigarettes in public. MAV president Bill McArthur said there was broad support from councils across the state for a state government-led initiative.
“Smoke-free alfresco dining and playgrounds already exist or are proposed by state governments in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania,” Cr McArthur said.
According to the Victorian health department, smoking and secondhand smoke kills about 4000 people across the state and costs $5 billion every year in health costs.