Call for vaping to be exempt in Australia's first smoke-free CBD

Call for vaping to be exempt in Australia's first smoke-free CBD

Legalise Vaping Australia  calls for vaping to be exempt in Australia's first smoke-free CBD, via The Daily Telegraph.

 

RANGERS will soon be on patrol in the streets of Strathfield to enforce the inner west’s first blanket ban on smoking.

Strathfield councillors have unanimously backed a move to outlaw lighting up in all public spaces in the CBD including Strathfield Square, Albert Rd, Redmyre Rd and Raw Square.

The ban comes into effect immediately, making Strathfield the first CBD in Australia to go entirely smoke-free, pipping North Sydney which has similar plans open for feedback.

Strathfield Mayor Gulian Vaccari hopes it is the first step towards making the council the first smoke-free municipality in Sydney.

“There could be a bit of push back initially but we’ll start with an education approach — there’ll be officers going around having a chat with people. After that infringements will become appropriate,” he said.

“What people do inside their own homes is their own business, but on our streets and public places, I want us to be smoke-free.”

The council already takes a no-nonsense approach to smokers, having handed out $9240 in fines to 84 unwitting smokers during campaigns in 2017/18. Signs and “stamps” on footpaths will alert smokers to the new ban. Fines have yet to be set, however, the council indicated infringements would “likely” be at around $110.

Strathfield Chamber of Commerce secretary Sue McDonald said possible benefits to business owners could be more families visiting the CBD. She said it was too early to tell whether smokers would take note of the measures. “People don’t necessarily pay attention to signs, especially if English isn’t your first language,” she said. “It will really depend on whether rangers are out each day enforcing it.”

The crackdown comes as latest health figures show a significant decline in smoking rates in the Sydney Local Health District, dropping from 22 per cent in 2007 to 12.7 per cent last year. Strathfield also ranked in the bottom 20 per cent of NSW councils for smokingrelated deaths (52.8 people per 100,000 deaths in 2013, down from 60.7 in 2007).

Cr Vaccari, who works as a pharmacist, said he would be “happy to wear” any criticism that the move equated to a violation of personal freedom or a step towards a nanny state. He said the move wasn’t about punishing smokers but improving the amenity of the area.

Campaigners from Legalise Vaping Australia have called for smokers of e-cigarettes to be exempt — something the council said was under consideration. Burwood Council will be askedto match the ban on the eastern side of The Boulevard, where the council boundaries converge.