| 13.09,19. 09:18 AM |
Smoking and vaping ban tipped for Melbourne's Bourke Street Mall
Smoking and vaping are set to be stubbed out in Melbourne's Bourke Street Mall to shield people from the effects of cigarettes and second-hand smoke.
The proposed zone covers Bourke Street between Elizabeth Street and Russell Place and includes footpaths, tramways and roads.
Following community consultation, a report to Melbourne City Council showed compelling support for a smoke-free zone.
Of more than 3,100 people surveyed, 83 per cent supported the ban, and 83 per cent of almost 170 business owners also supported the move.
Vaping would also fall under the ban after a law change in 2017 that banned vaping in Victoria's smoke-free spaces.
"There are more than 60,000 workers and visitors around the Bourke Street Mall every day. We feel very strongly to make sure it's a safe and welcoming environment," Lord Mayor Sally Capp told ABC Radio Melbourne.
"They deserve an environment where they can be smoke-free."
Photo: The Bourke Street Mall is one of the busiest pedestrian areas in Melbourne's CBD. (Supplied: City of Melbourne)
People caught smoking or vaping in the area could face a $100 fine, although Cr Capp conceded it would be "very difficult" to enforce the ban.
The council's report stated the council would focus on education until the end of January before enforcement was implemented.
Council says move in line with other cities
Almost 70 per cent of 467 smokers said they were supportive of or neutral to the ban, but the report also said 39 per cent of smokers questioned in Bourke Street, "believe wider prescription of smoke-free areas would make them definitely quit or consider quitting smoking".
The report also outlined concerns about areas people would be allowed to smoke in.
"This is particularly relevant for certain groups, such as those experiencing homelessness or international students who may be more likely to be impacted by the ban in this area," the report said.
Photo: A smoking ban will be voted on next week by Melbourne City councillors. (ABC News: Jessica Hayes)
Cr Capp said the move mirrored policies in other Australian capitals, where smoking has been banned in certain areas.
Melbourne City councillors will vote on the ban at a council meeting next Tuesday.
The area would make Bourke Street Mall the 11th smoke-free zone in the City of Melbourne.
Current areas already smoke-free in the City of Melbourne: The Causeway, Howey Place, Block Place, Equitable Place, Goldsbrough Lane, QV Melbourne, The Tan and Princes Park tracks, Collins Way, and Fulham Place.