The West

Smoke still lingers but mall bans work well
A man who refused to put out his cigarette and a young woman caught lighting up minutes after being cautioned were among five people fined for smoking in Perth's shopping malls.

A man who refused to put out his cigarette and a young woman caught lighting up minutes after being cautioned were among five people fined for smoking in Perth's shopping malls.

Another offender was believed to be a city retail worker who had been heard saying for months that he did not care about the risk of being fined.

In the month since the City of Perth started issuing $100 fines to those caught breaching its smoking ban in the Hay Street and Murray Street malls and Forrest Place, 370 people have been cautioned and five fined.

That equates to about 14 people cautioned a day, which the city said was a reduction in the number of smokers warned after the ban came in last year but before the council started handing out fines on June 1.

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The figures suggest the city's message about the ban is getting through, though it is not clear whether smokers in the city are smoking less or simply not smoking where the ban applies.

The council's policy since the so-called enforcement phase of the ban started is to caution smokers first and only issue a fine if they refuse to stub out or commit a second offence.

The West Australian spotted seven people lighting up in no-smoking zones around the city in an hour yesterday.

Just one of those who spoke to The West admitted knowing about the ban and which areas of the city it applied to. "We didn't know anything about it," a young woman smoking on a bench in Hay Street mall said.

Another woman taking a break from shopping in Murray Street mall said she was not sure what parts of the city were covered.

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said most people who received cautions were understanding.

"We do feel it is successful and this is backed up by the many emails of appreciation and ... the comments myself and other councillors as well as staff are getting," she said.

It was likely the ban would be extended to other parts of the city, but Ms Scaffidi declined to say how soon that could happen.

There are also indications other councils could follow.

The mayors of Fremantle and Victoria Park have vowed to monitor Perth as a test case.

According to Healthway, which has backed the ban, smoke-free environments can discourage smokers from smoking.

It also reduces the risk from second-hand smoke.

Lung cancer is Australia's fifth most common cancer but the most common cause of death from cancer.

The West Australian

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