Most support smoking bans: council
Four out of five Victorians support total smoking bans in the state's bars and clubs, according to new figures by the Cancer Council Victoria.
The results of a survey of 3,000 Victorians found 79 per cent support for the state government's plan to ban smoking in hospitality venues from July 1, 2007.
Cancer Council director Professor David Hill said the result was a vote of support for the government's health reforms.
Respondents who voiced support were also quizzed on when they wanted to see the bans in place.
Prof Hill said 69 per cent wanted the bans introduced sooner, with the majority of these (77 per cent) saying they should be in force within six months.
"These figures show us not only that the public are very much in favour of smoke-free bars and clubs, but also that they want to see them sooner rather than later," Prof Hill said.
"The harms of passive smoking are now well known, so there is no excuse to put the health of anyone, worker or patron, at risk because of an unnecessarily smoky environment."
Prof Hill also said overall support for the bans had increased dramatically.
The survey conducted in 2000 showed 57 per cent community support, and the figure increased to 63 per cent in 2001, 68 per cent in 2002 and 72 per cent in 2003.
Government-backed group VicHealth said the latest poll results showed widespread support for the bans from both smokers and non-smokers.
"More smokers approve of the bans in bars and clubs than disapprove of them and this should dismantle any idea that the push for smoke-free environments has been driven solely by non-smokers and health groups," chief executive Dr Rob Moodie said.
He accused the tobacco industry of collaborating with the hospitality industry to oppose smoke-free environments, but, "with the majority of the public supporting smoking bans, any effort to preserve unhealthy public environments no longer stands-up".