2013/09: Should smokers be banned from lighting up in any public space?

Introduction to the media issue

Video clip at right:
A Channel 7 News report was aired on November 26, 2012, reporting on the Baillieu Government’s plan to impose a range of restrictions on smokers, including prohibiting smoking in outdoor eating areas. If you cannot see this clip, it will be because video is blocked by your network. To view the clip, access from home or from a public library, or from another network which allows viewing of video clips.

What they said...
'I don't think innocent people should be exposed to a cancer-producing substance just because they are having a meal somewhere'
Professor David Ball, the chairman of the lung service at Melbourne's Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

'You can't approve the sale of cigarettes then rule that we can't smoke them anywhere. This is hypocrisy...'
Meryl Shenker, letter to the editor writer, published in The Sydney Morning Herald on March 3, 2013

The issue at a glance
In January, 2013, newly elected Melbourne City councillor, Richard Foster, called for smoking to be banned in all public spaces, including footpaths, in the City of Melbourne, including Bourke Street and the City Square. Such a ban would also include open-air dining areas and the space adjoining the entrances to public buildings.
On May 10, 2013, 197 Victorian cancer specialists and clinicians called for the state government to introduce a ban on smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas.
A spokeswoman for the state government indicated that the government has already banned smoking between the flags at patrolled beaches and has enabled the prosecution of people who smoke in cars with children. She further stated that the government would 'take additional steps over time to reduce the opportunities for smoking in public spaces'. It is currently in the consultation process prior to imposing a ban on smoking in children's playgrounds and at sporting events.
A range of municipalities, restaurateurs and hoteliers have claimed that a total ban on smoking in any public place is too extreme and may well be unenforceable.