MELBOURNE (DPA) - Melbourne's Bourke Street Mall shopping strip has been declared a no-smoking zone, making it Australia's highest-profile smoke-free outdoor area.
The ban comes into effect on Friday (Oct 4), Melbourne City Council said, with a fine of A$100 (S$93) for smokers caught lighting up in the banned area.
The ban includes footpaths, tramways and roads in the Bourke Street Mall area, between Elizabeth Street and Russell Place, which is the most popular shopping strip in downtown Melbourne.
In recent years, the strip has also seen several vehicle-related attacks.
The ban does not currently include e-cigarettes, but the council said it will review the law to consider also banning them.
Also, people found littering cigarette butts anywhere in the city face fines of between A$330 and A$660, the council said.
Melbourne is the second most populated city in Australia and the state capital of Victoria. Melbourne city's Lord Mayor Sally Capp said smoking takes a terrible toll on the community and the ban would let the 60,000 visitors and residents breathe easier and protect them from passive smoking.
"Every year about 4,000 Victorians die from smoking-related illnesses, and it affects the health and well-being of thousands more," she said in a statement. "There is no safe level of exposure to smoking."
Ms Sarah White, chief executive for Quit Victoria, an anti-tobacco lobbying group, said second-hand smoke could trigger asthma attacks and make people who were trying to quit want a cigarette.
Victoria banned smoking in outdoor dining areas in August 2017.