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City bans smoking in malls
The West Australian

Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi hopes a smoking ban in the Hay Street and Murray Street malls and Forrest Place will lead to similar bans in open areas across WA.

People smoking in the malls face fines under a proposal to make the City of Perth the first council in WA to ban smoking in pedestrian areas.

The plan will go to the council on Tuesday after the works, urban and development committee approved it last week.

Ms Scaffidi said that if the ban was passed, she hoped it would influence the State Government to amend tobacco laws to make it easy for other councils to follow suit.

POLL: Do you agree with the ban?

"The community support is there," she said. "People have told me how nice it would be to walk around without having people's smoke blowing in their nostrils.

"Other councils around Australia have similar measures - it's the 21st century - and I think it is important to be proactive in such an important health initiative."

In 2007, Fremantle banned smoking in alfresco dining areas and two years later the Government legislated to make the ban Statewide.

Currently, councils must develop or amend local laws to prohibit smoking in public areas but no other WA council is considering such a move.

Brisbane City Council banned smoking in Queen Street mall in 2011 and Adelaide has a six-month smoke-free trial in and around Rundle Street mall. Hobart bans smoking in the Elizabeth Street mall.

City of Vincent mayor Alannah MacTiernan said she was not convinced a blanket ban on smoking was the best action.

"The impact on third parties, of someone smoking in an open-air street, isn't really the same thing as smoking indoors or in confined places," she said.

"The fact is, as much as we would want people to stop smoking, there are people who do and they need to be able to do it somewhere."

A law to prohibit smoking in all enclosed public spaces in WA was enacted in 2006. In 2009, it was amended to include outdoor eating areas, within 10m of playground equipment, between the flags at patrolled beaches and in vehicles with a person aged under 17.

While the proposed City of Perth ban would focus on education, repeat offenders could be fined.

Curtin University professor of health policy Mike Daube said the ban would reduce healthcare costs and greatly benefit the community.

He said there was no doubt passive smoking harmed health.