Smokers flout ban in Perth city malls as $100 fine takes effect
1 Jun 2014
By Rebecca Trigger
Smokers were flouting a ban on lighting up in Perth pedestrian malls despite a $100 fine coming into effect on Sunday.
The City of Perth last year voted to ban smoking in pedestrian areas of the mall, the first local government authority in Perth to do so.
The ban commenced in December but in the first six months people were only issued cautions.
From Sunday, smokers can be hit with $100 fines.
One smoker, who asked not to be named, said she understood the ban was designed to protect children in the city from second-hand smoke.
“But there should be designated smoking in the alleyways,” she said.
“People work here, they don’t want to walk all that way to have a smoke.
“It’s ridiculous given they can sell cigarettes [in the malls] but we can’t smoke them.”
David Bullpit, 67, said he had been smoking for 30 years and giving up now would be hard.
“It’s a free country, isn’t it?” he said.
The president of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, Professor Mike Daube, welcomed the new rules but cautioned they needed to be introduced gradually.
“Gradually people will just get used to it and accept it,” he said.
“You may need one or two fines or penalties and then people get to know this is the way the regulations are.”
He said the ban was a sign of changing attitudes to smoking in Australia as smoking rates plummeted.
According to figures recently compiled by Professor Daube and University of WA population health epidemiologist D’Arcy Holman, smoking rates in Australia dropped from 43 per cent of adults in 1964 to 12 per cent by 2012.
“I think this shows this is the way the world is going and people understand the harms of the passive smoking,” Dr Daube said.
“It isn’t just an inconvenience.”
A City of Perth spokeswoman said their rangers would still issue warnings to people caught smoking, but repeat offenders would face fines.
During the first day of the new laws, 33 warnings were given but no fines were issued.