Help create a Smoke Free Mornington Peninsula

The Shire is working with local community groups and Peninsula Health to make the Peninsula smoke free.

This year to reduce litter in the environment and smoking in public areas, we are continuing the trial of smoke free areas throughout the Peninsula.

Locations are:

  • Safety Beach Foreshore
  • Mount Eliza Foreshore
  • Rye Foreshore
  • Shire offices in Mornington, Hastings and Rosebud
  • Civic Reserve in Mornington
  • Point Leo Main Beach (Committee of Management)

The trial commenced on 28th May 2021. Smoke free zones are clearly marked with signage. Cigarette butt bins or litter bins will be placed at the entrances to zones, where possible.

The community and foreshore groups are helping the Shire monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the smoke free zones using cigarette litter data and survey feedback.

Due to Covid-19 lockdowns during 2021 there is not yet enough data to complete the trial. With the recent return to Covid normal, there is an excellent opportunity to gather sufficient data by extending the trial period until March 2022.

With great support from Peninsula Health, the Shire has been successful in arranging for Peninsula Parklet areas to be fully smoke free as voluntary trial areas with signage at entrances and outside each participating Parklet business.

In 2019, following community input showing strong concern about the impacts and effects of smoking on the Peninsula, Council adopted the Mornington Peninsula Smoke Free Environment Policy.

Despite progress made in reducing smoking rates in Victoria, tobacco remains the leading avoidable cause of cancer and a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, killing 4,000 Victorians each year. Each of Victoria’s current smokers who quit would have an extra $1000-$7000 available each year of their lives. Learn more on the Quit website

Cigarette butts are the number one littered item in Australia with around 7 billion butts carelessly thrown into the environment each year. Tobacco-related litter costs the Victorian economy $25.7 million every year. The hazardous chemicals in cigarette butts can leach into aquatic ecosystems, degrading water quality and threatening marine life. Birds and aquatic animals sometimes mistake cigarette butts for food and ingest them, causing serious digestive problems that can even lead to death. Learn more on the Victorian Government Environment website.

The initial 6-month trial has been made possible due to a combined effort with:

  • Mornington Peninsula Shire,
  • Peninsula Health,
  • Safety Beach/Dromana Beach Patrol,
  • Wastewise Peninsula,
  • Belgravia Leisure,
  • Civic Reserve user groups,
  • Josie Jones from The Only Butt campaign, and
  • Point Leo Foreshore Committee.

Your business can help prevent cigarette butt litter with the following:

  • Provide suitable containers for the disposal of cigarette butt litter, ensuring they are inside the building line.
  • Use signage to discourage smoking and encourage correct disposal of cigarette buts
  • Educate your staff about the correct disposal of cigarette butts.
  • If butts are littered outside your premises, clean them up. Sweep them into a rubbish bin and not into the gutter (where they then enter our waterways, bays and oceans).
  • Offer smoke free dining - a totally smoke free dining environment, including outdoors and service areas.

Businesses can promote the good work they do to support smoke free dining through the Best Bites Awards.

Businesses have a legal responsibility to manage the litter generated by their business. This includes collecting, storing and disposing of the cigarette butts littered by staff, customers, clients and visitors to your business – even if they are dropped outside your property boundary. Learn more on the Environment Protection Authority Victoria website.

The trial was an opportunity to engage communities, raise awareness of the Shire’s Smoke Free Environments Policy and collect data on the most effective ways to implement smoke free areas. Data was collected using this Shape webpage, where community groups assisted with monitoring of smoking and butt litter by completing a survey adapted from the Victorian Litter Action Alliance litter count form. Participating Summer Parklets program businesses were surveyed at the conclusion of the trial.

An evaluation report summarising the data and key learnings is available here: Moving Towards a Smoke Free Mornington Peninsula - Evaluation Report