Martin Place smokers to “butt out”

The trial will begin on Monday 11 May across all outdoor areas of Martin Place, and City staff will monitor the effectiveness of the ban over 12 months

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A smoking ban in Martin Place will begin on 11 May as part of a City of Sydney trial to improve health and reduce environmental impacts from cigarettes in the popular public space.

The trial follows an investigation by the City into what the community thinks about smoking in outdoor public places, including Martin Place.

The City spoke to local businesses and surveyed 757 smokers and non-smokers to find out community opinion. The majority of non-smokers said Martin Place was a less pleasant place to visit because of passive smoke from smokers.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City was taking positive action to reduce pollution from cigarette butts and smoke in one of Sydney’s busiest and most popular civic spaces.

“We have asked the community what they think about this issue and more people showed a preference for Martin Place to be a smoke-free zone,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Thousands of people pass through Martin Place every day, so it’s important we make the right decision for our workers, residents, visitors and businesses.

“This trial ban will protect visitors including many children and families by reducing their exposure to harmful second-hand tobacco smoke.

“The City will continue to work closely with NSW Government agencies and community groups to increase awareness about the impacts of smoking in public places.”

The trial will begin on Monday 11 May across all outdoor areas of Martin Place, and City staff will monitor the effectiveness of the ban over 12 months.

Rangers will patrol Martin Place raising awareness about the trial, and distributing personal ashtrays so smokers can “butt out” responsibly. The trial is being supported by the Cancer Council, Council Institute and Heart Foundation.

NSW Cardiovascular Health Director, Julie Anne Mitchell at the Heart Foundation, said the trial ban is another step in the ongoing ‘denormalisation’ of smoking.

“We have had remarkable success in reducing smoking, however 16 per cent of adults in NSW continue to smoke,” Ms Mitchell said.

“With smoking being one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke, we need to continue our efforts to reduce tobacco use.

“Creating smoke free public outdoor spaces will not only reduce the harmful spread of second hand smoke, but will also support people who have quit or are trying to quit.”

Smoking is already prohibited in some areas of Martin Place under NSW Government legislation, including smoking restrictions within up to four metres of a public building doorway with pedestrian access. The government also has no smoking bans in outdoor dining areas coming into force from July this year.

An information campaign will inform the community about the trial and there will be new ‘no smoking’ signs erected in Martin Place.