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Several City of Sydney councillors have backed calls for a blanket ban on outdoor smoking in the Sydney CBD.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Australia spokesperson Stafford Sanders this week called for smoking to be banned in all public spaces in the city centre, including al fresco dining and drinking areas, pedestrian malls, footpaths, parks and playgrounds.

Mr Sanders, who compared smoking in public to “walking around waving a blanket of asbestos fibres”, said it was high time the City of Sydney Council prohibited smoking throughout the CBD, where high population densities and crowds made passive smoking virtually unavoidable.

“If you’re walking behind a smoker in a crowded street, there’s nowhere to go and no way to avoid breathing second-hand smoke,” said Mr Sanders.

“All the medical evidence shows that second-hand smoke kills. It contains over 250 toxic compounds and is harmful in any dose.”

Mr Sanders’ call follows a proposal in Melbourne which, if adopted, would see the Victorian capital adopt some of the world’s toughest anti-smoking measures.

City of Melbourne Councillor Richard Foster last week called for “a complete smoking ban” in all public spaces, reported The Age.

Mr Sanders said he wanted the same approach adopted in Sydney, and was especially concerned for hospitality workers.

“This is an issue for the general public, but it’s also a workplace health and safety issue, particularly for workers in bars, clubs and restaurants, who are exposed to second-hand smoke day after day,” said Mr Sanders.

“It’s very concerning, because the toxic effects of cigarette smoke are cumulative.”

Numerous City of Sydney councillors agreed with Mr Sanders.

Councillor Angela Vithoulkas from the Living Sydney Party said while she was mindful of smokers’ rights, “smoking is a nasty, dirty habit that makes people very sick”.

Greens Councillor Irene Doutney said: “I support a smoking ban but I must say, somewhat grudgingly.

“I don’t like smoking but I feel we have to be careful not to make people feel like lepers.”

Labor Councillor Linda Scott enthusiastically supported a smoking ban. She shared Ms Doutney’s concerns about marginalising smokers but said the University of Sydney provided a blueprint for the City of Sydney to follow.

“The university banned smoking across its campus early last year, and provides a good model for how to do it sensibly, sensitively and respectfully,” she said.

Liberal Councillor Christine Forster said “as a reformed smoker” she also supported a smoking ban – but her Liberal colleague Edward Mandla saw things differently.

“What’s next? Soon, smoking will be illegal altogether and the Mexican drug cartels will be rubbing their hands with glee, doing a rip-roaring black market trade,” said Mr Mandla.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore took a ‘middle way’ approach.

“The City of Sydney already discourages smoking on health and environmental grounds, and the City policy bans smoking at our venues, grandstands, sporting ovals, aquatic centres and children’s play areas,” said the Lord Mayor.

“A ban on smoking in the public domain would have significant health benefits, however this is a NSW Government responsibility.”

But Mr Sanders urged the City to consider a ban on smoking in al fresco dining spaces, at least.

“A NSW Government ban on al fresco smoking comes into effect from July 2015 but there’s no reason why the City of Sydney can’t do it straight away,” said Mr Sanders.

“They could make granting of al fresco licences provisional, subject to being smoke-free.”

Over 40 NSW local government areas have already banned smoking in al fresco dining areas, including Leichhardt, Marrickville, Newcastle, North Sydney, Parramatta and Waverley.

  • Mace

    That is crap city of Sydney lets their workers smoke they smoke in their depots on the streets while doing their job .If city of Sydney want to ban smoking outdoors they have to practice what they preach .

  • julie

    Clover Moore is evading the issue.
    This is no more a state government issue than council-licenced footway cafes or (unused) cycling paths.

  • Andrew

    I was on king st newtown about 2.45 pm just yesterday behind a council tip truck then i saw a man in the passenger seat with flurescent orange shirt toss out a cigarrete but out the window , it pissed me off , next time ill take a photo and ill make sure ill send it to clover moores office and we will see whats she got to say about this.

  • LessNannyStatePlz

    Of course…Be a good American puppet Australia and do as they did it long time ago. So many things that kill people around but yeah lets have witch hunt on the smokers!

    Just waiting for the day when its finally done & smoking is declared illegal. One will then have to go to the gangsters who push hard drugs to get smoke. Getting shot over a pack of smokes anyone?

    Yeah what great achievement that will be. There’s a market for smoking and you won’t remove it with government sponsored paranoia & hate campaigns. You’ll just make it a black market. This is how this stuff goes please read a book about prohibition or this silly war on drugs…