Bourke Street to be smoke-free within weeks as council passes ban

Bourke Street will be smoke-free within a couple of weeks after a ban was passed at a City of Melbourne council meeting on Tuesday night.

A report to the council showed overwhelming backing among shoppers and traders for a smoke-free zone.

The ban will cover the section of Bourke Street between Elizabeth Street and Russell Place and include footpaths, tramways and roads.

The council said the mall would be Melbourne's "highest-profile outdoor smoke-free area". The ban will take effect on October 4 and the fine for breaches will be $100.

A report to the council's future Melbourne committee, released last week, showed 83 per cent of more than 3000 people surveyed supported the ban. This included more than 1000 people interviewed on Bourke Street.

Nearly 170 Bourke Street businesses surveyed returned an 83 per cent rate of support. While support was lower among smokers, 67 per cent of 467 surveyed said they were either supportive or neutral.

"Furthermore, 39 per cent of smokers intercepted on Bourke Street believe wider prescription of smoke-free areas would make them definitely quit or consider quitting smoking," the report to councillors said.

The study, by market researcher Colmar Brunton, also found majority support on social media for a ban after monitoring thousands of comments and reactions to posts between May 15 and April 23.

To read the full article by Simone Fox Koob and Zach Hope in The Age (18th September 2019) click here: