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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Melbourne's Bourke Street Mall Could Soon Be a Smoke-Free Zone

The Melbourne City Council will make a decision on the ban next week.
By Libby Curran
September 13, 2019
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Melbourne's Bourke Street Mall Could Soon Be a Smoke-Free Zone

The Melbourne City Council will make a decision on the ban next week.
By Libby Curran
September 13, 2019
  shares

Bourke Street Mall's constant foot traffic probably won't be slowing down anytime in the near future, but it could soon be a little easier on the lungs to walk through the buzzy stretch, as Melbourne City Council considers a smoking ban for the area. The proposed smoke-free zone would be implemented between Russell Place and Elizabeth Street, covering all footpaths, roads and tramways.

A report submitted to the Council's Future Melbourne Committee earlier this week has revealed there's strong support for the smoking ban. A month of community consultation earlier this year showed that 83 percent of over 3100 individual respondents and 169 businesses were keen to make the strip smoke-free. There was little opposition to the idea across the board — even from the smokers involved in the consultation — with 67 percent of smokers either for the ban, or neutral. The survey, which was undertaken by market research company Colmar Brunton, involved interviewing people on-site, as well as via online surveys and through social media.

The City of Melbourne Council will vote on the ban at a meeting next Tuesday, September 17, with The Age reporting that it's tipped to get the green light. Lord Mayor Sally Capp told The Age, "If approved, the changes would help create a healthier, cleaner, more welcoming atmosphere for the 60,000 people who visit or work in Bourke Street Mall every day."

If the ban is introduced, it's likely that there would be a period of education about the new smoke-free zone, then people could face a $100 fine. But, in an interview on ABC Radio Melbourne, the Lord Mayor revealed that vapers would be exempt from the ban, and subsequent fines, saying, "I think everybody is trying to catch up with vaping, it's not part of the policy at the moment".

The City of Melbourne currently has ten smoke-free zones, including Howey Place, Block Place, Equitable Place, QV Melbourne, The Causeway, Fulham Place, Goldsbrough Lane, Collins Way, and the Tan and Princes Park running tracks.

The Bourke Street smoking ban proposal comes just a couple of months after North Sydney made the move to become one of the first smoke-free CBDs in the country. Hobart and Brisbane also have designated smoke-free public places in their own CBDs.

The Bourke Street Mall smoke-free zone will be voted on in a Council meeting on Tuesday, September 17. We'll let you know what the outcome is.

Image: Josie Withers for Visit Victoria

Published on September 13, 2019 by Libby Curran

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