An ambitious plan to make Melbourne, Australia’s central business district completely smoke-free within the next three years has begun to gain traction among legislators in the country’s second most populous city and with anti-smoking advocates across the country.
The city council has already passed a smoking ban on The Causeway, a high profile area in the city’s shopping precinct, which lies within the CBD. The area is noted for its high-end retail shops, restaurants and cafés. Six more similar areas in the CBD are slated to go smoke-free in the next year. Should the ban eventually come to pass, it would make all smoking illegal, even for pedestrians and job site workers.
The proposal has garnered its share of supporters and critics, as health advocates say it would be a step towards making Melbourne one of the healthiest cities in the world, while opponents say the ban would be nearly impossible to enforce and doesn’t address more pressing issues in the city. Even Quit Victoria and the Heart Foundation have said it would be hard if not impossible to enforce the ban, and that they prefer a statewide ban on smoking in outdoor and dining and drinking areas.
Additionally, while the Sydney City Council has shown support for a ban within its CBD, it said it doesn’t have the power to enforce penalties for violation. Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore would rather see a nationwide smoking ban that would help create uniformity among councils, a move that New South Wales Premier Mike Baird said the government “will take the possibility on board,” according to The Australian.
The Melbourne CBD is home to more than 28,000 of the city’s 93,000 residents, with the larger Melbourne metropolis having a population of more 4.3 million people.