Melbourne CBD Smoking Ban May Be Significantly Expanded: Electronic Cigarettes Will Also Be Banned
Smoking or vaping outside major transport hubs and municipal buildings, including City Hall, will be banned as smoke-free areas in downtown Melbourne could be massively expanded.
The Herald Sun reported on August 22 that Melbourne City Council has banned smoking in 13 areas of the city, including Bourke Street Mall, McKillop St, Market Street Park, Collins Way, Goldsborough Lane, and Tan and Princes Park Runway.
However, the City is considering whether it should extend smoke-free areas to the entrances to major transportation hubs, as well as to properties owned and managed by the City.
These include places such as the Town Hall on Swanston St, North Melbourne Town Hall, the Community Sports Centre and Civic Space.
Under this Smoke-Free Melbourne policy, the council will also upgrade existing signage in smoke-free areas to say "No Smoking/E-Cigarettes" in response to the increasing use of e-cigarettes.
Since 2013, Melbourne has issued an average of just 10 tickets per year for violators, and the city has taken an "educational and caring approach" to people who smoke in no-smoking areas.
Mayor Sally Capp said the health of the community is driving the city's position.
"We know that smoking is very harmful, not only to smokers, but also to people who are forced to accept second-hand smoke," she said.
"The City of Melbourne is working hard to ensure that more residents, workers, visitors and families can enjoy our beautiful city without worrying about health issues."
Capp also said the increase in the number of people smoking e-cigarettes is a concern, especially among young people.
She said, "We believe the upgraded signage will help reduce the use of e-cigarettes in our city."
The city council's crackdown on vaping has been welcomed by the health lobby.
Sarah White, head of Quit Victoria, said a smoke-free city would have huge health benefits for residents.
"Even if you don't smoke, over time, inhaling someone else's second-hand smoke increases your risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease," she said. "Secondhand smoke or aerosols from e-cigarettes can also trigger asthma attacks and make some people uncomfortable."
Dr. Bronwyn King, CEO of Tobacco Free Portfolios, said tobacco is the number one preventable cause of death in the world, with about 24,000 Australians dying from it each year and more than 8 million globally.
"About 15 per cent of deaths occur in non-smokers, which illustrates the alarming impact of second-hand smoke on society," she said.
"A smoke-free city helps protect the environment, improves the city's cityscape and allows Melbourneites to enjoy amazing food, culture and activities without the fear of inhaling toxic substances."