Australia: Smoking to be Banned in Center of Sydney

Martin Place, Sydney

City Council is going to vote an ordinance which would make Martin Place smoke-free area for a trial period of one year. The change is planned to come into action from the beginning of 2015.

The proposal was discussed last wek by the council’s environment committee. The proposal came from Liberal councillor Christine Forster, who told about similar experince in a number of cities which successfully prohibited cigarettes in popular public areas.

Forster told about the important role Martin Place plays in the city of Sydney, therefore it turns out to be most appropriate place to run this trial. In case the experiment will be successful, the smoking ban will be extended to other public places in the city such as Pitt St Mall. Forster hopes to get all necessary support from Council for the proposal so that the trial could go ahead. In case the Council approves it, then it would be implemeted by the police.

Forster says that it would never do to impose severe penalties during the trial period and the best approach here is just to gently ask smokers to butt out and move from Martin Place to other place to light up. Also there is a need to establish no smoking signs in this place.

A recent survey, in which participated 750 people, found that from 3% to 8% of people in Martin Place were smoking. Also it found that there were 1400 people in Martin Place at 1pm on a typical weekday.

In Martin Place already exists a smoke-free policy which bans smoking outdoors and people cannot light up within four meters of an entrance to a public building. From July 2015 the smoking ban will be expanded to clubs, hotels, restaurants and cafes.  Smoking in the city is prohibited on bus stops and taxi ranks. The fine for the offence is $550.

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