Smoking will be banned in Pitt Street Mall, Australia’s busiest shopping strip, from later this year.
Anyone who lights up in the retail zone faces a fine of up to $110.
The City of Sydney announced the decision after a 12-month smoke-free trial in Martin Place, which will also become a permanent smoke-free zone later in the year. A date is yet to be announced.
The high-rise buildings flanking Pitt Street Mall magnify the effects of smoking, says the City of Sydney. Photo: Tamara Voninski
Smoking in the mall is a bigger problem because smoke becoming trapped between the high-rise buildings on either side of the strip, according to the City.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said harmful secondhand tobacco smoke was a risk to everyone who visited the area.
“High-rise buildings on both sides of the mall magnify the impact of smokers both congregating in the mall and passing through,” Ms Moore said.
The Pitt Street ban will be in place between King and Market streets. More than 65,000 people visit the area every day.
Rangers will assess cases of smoking in the prohibited areas, according to the City. While non-compliance could result in a penalty, the aims were to reinforce the non-smoking message and discourage littering.
“This is primarily an educational campaign to reinforce non-smoking,” a City spokesperson said. “Rangers are trained to judge each case on individual merit and encourage smokers to extinguish and dispose of their cigarettes appropriately or move on from the area.
“Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to $110.
“The City does not issue penalty notices for smoking offences to raise revenue, but to deter cigarette butt littering and change smokers’ behaviour.”
Ms Moore said community response to the Martin Place trial, via an online survey, had been decisive. Four out of five respondents wanted the Martin Place trial to stay and also extend to Pitt Street.
During the Martin Place smoking ban, which started in May 2015, the number of people seen smoking decreased significantly as did the total number of discarded butts, according to City figures.
Findings of the survey show that 79 per cent of respondents supported both the trial and its extension to other areas.
“The City has received frequent complaints about smoking in Pitt Street Mall and requests for smoking to be prohibited there,” the spokesperson said.
NSW laws introduced since 2000 ban smoking in enclosed public places and some public outdoor areas, including public transport stops and platforms and within four metres of a pedestrian access point to a public building. These buildings include shopping centres, licensed premises, restaurants and cafes.
Anyone who smokes within a four-metre zone could receive an on-the-spot fine of $300.
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