All of Melbourne’s CBD could become smoke-free under a councillor’s bold plan.
Councillor Beverley Pinder wants to extend the Bourke St Mall smoking ban, which comes into effect tomorrow, across the inner city.
“This is my vision, I envision a CBD area that is smoke-free,” she told 3AW this morning.
“I mean obviously this is something that I would need to discuss with my councillors and importantly the State Government.”
The CBD now has 11 smoke-free areas, with the Bourke St zone extending from Elizabeth St to Russell Place.
Special areas could be created like the smoking booths in Japan, particularly in high stress areas, Ms Pinder said.
“I always come from a people perspective and in the high stress areas like outside courts and hospitals, I think consideration needs to be given as to how we would accommodate people and their need or desire to smoke.”
She said smoke-free areas would be considered based on a number of factors, including pedestrian traffic.
Ms Pinder was asked if the council had thought about banning the sale of cigarettes in the city entirely.
“No, we certainly have not thought about that,” she said.
“I think this is more coming from an education perspective, andpeople need to understand that smoking is a health risk to themselves, but also passive. The mums with the prams, the young teenagers, it’s impacting on a whole wide range of people around them.”
Ms Pinder said e-cigarettes would not be included, and confusion could occur if vaping continued to gain popularity.
“Our local law does not include vaping at this stage, but we are working very hard towards it,” she said.
Ms Pinder said the first phase of the Bourke St ban was about education.
“We want people to understand that we’re doing this for a more welcoming, more healthy city,” she said.
“Enforcement doesn’t enter our mindset at this point in time. We want people to learn, understand and co-operate. From there on there will be enforcement.”
Once enforcement kicks in, smokers would be fined $100.
Ms Pinder told The Herald Sun council surveys showed huge support for the ban, and even 40 per cent of smokers said it would encourage them to quit.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the new ban would clear the air for the 60,000 visitors, residents and workers who use Bourke St Mall daily.
“Every year about 4000 Victorians die from smoking-related illnesses, and it affects the health and wellbeing of thousands more,” she told the newspaper.
“There is no safe level of exposure to smoking.”
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