Local governments in cities around Australia are rallying to rid their city streets of smoking.
A bid to make Melbourne one of the world’s first smoke-free CBDs has won some support in other Australian capitals, though even anti-smoking groups say it’s unworkable.
It’s a concept backed by the lord mayor of the City of Perth, where from June people can be fined $100 for smoking in city malls.
Melbourne City Councillor Richard Foster says after successfully trialling a smoking ban in a CBD lane, The Causeway, six more areas will be banned in the next financial year.
He says the final step would be a smoking ban in the CBD.
“We would be the first smoke-free city in the world,” Mr Foster told reporters on Thursday.
“So, this is going to be a great example of how Melbourne can lead … on wellbeing and on health.”
Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said it would be impossible to implement.
“I think it’s totally unworkable. I think it’s totally unreasonable,” he told Fairfax Radio.
Quit Victoria and the Heart Foundation say making the CBD smoke-free would be difficult, and a statewide ban on smoking in outdoor and dining and drinking areas would be preferable.
“A total ban on smoking in the CBD may be difficult or impractical to enforce and smoking shelters could create ghettos,” Craig Sinclair from Quit Victoria said.
Sydney City Council supports a ban on smoking in its CBD but doesn’t have the power to penalise offenders, a spokeswoman said.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore wants the state government to implement smoking bans to ensure they are uniform across all councils, she said.
NSW Premier Mike Baird said the government will take the possibility on board.
“I’m not someone that enjoys running through cigarettes – that’s for sure,” he told reporters.
The City of Perth became the first West Australian council to ban smoking in major pedestrian areas when its malls went smoke-free last November.
Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi, who said there was a lot of public support for the ban, wants to ultimately outlaw smoking entirely in the CBD.
Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg wants smoke-free areas such as Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall expanded, though he expects he will face resistance.
“We already have among the toughest laws in the country and they will be further strengthened over time, to actually save people and reduce the burden on public health,” he told AAP.