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Smokefree dining makes good sense

Thursday 11 May, 2000

Quit says the Government's proposal to introduce smokefree dining makes good sense from a health and legal perspective.

Executive Director Todd Harper says restaurants are not being singled out as the proposed restrictions cover dining areas in pubs and clubs, as well as restaurants.

'The health effects of passive smoking are irrefutable, and there has been successful litigation on passive smoking in Australia. We've seen legal action in Victoria this year by an asthmatic diner who claims to have suffered as a result of being exposed to passive smoking in a restaurant.'

Mr Harper said the smokefree dining measures would also protect hospitality staff from the effects of passive smoking.

'No-one deserves to be forced to work in smoky workplaces, yet that is exactly what confronts most hospitality workers in Victoria.'

'If no action is taken we can expect to see further legal action from staff and diners who suffer the ill effects of passive smoking.'

'I'd urge restaurateurs to consider the independent research that shows strong public support for smokefree dining.'

'Research conducted by the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer shows two thirds of restaurant patrons always request smokefree dining and over 75% prefer to eat in a smokefree area.'

'The issue is not whether people smoke, it's where they smoke. In fact, a significant proportion of smokers say they prefer to dine in a smokefree atmosphere.'

'The Government's proposed reforms are a breath of fresh air for Victorian diners, particularly people with health conditions such as asthma and heart disease who are very sensitive to smoky environments.'

'Many people who don't suffer from asthma or other medical conditions prefer to enjoy their meal without having to contend with the unpleasant effects of cigarette smoke.'

'I understand restaurateurs' concerns to have bans go further, but this is an important first step.'

'We'd urge the restaurant industry to distance themselves from Philip Morris who are only using them as a component of their strategy to protect their interests.'

'Restaurateurs should be listening to their patrons, not a multinational tobacco company who have their own profits at heart, not the interests of restaurants, or the health of diners and restaurant staff.'

'Philip Morris are pushing their own agenda, and their own internal documents show that influencing the restaurant industry on the issue of smoking bans has been a part of their corporate affairs plans for some years.'

ends

Further information:

Zoe Furman
Media Communications Manager
Quit Victoria

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