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North Sydney Council’s outdoor smoking ban is a first for a major Australian CBD

Andrea McCullagh, July 28, 2019 7:00PM Mosman Daily

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North Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson in North Sydney's CBD. The smoking ban will come into force in coming months. Picture: AAP media_cameraNorth Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson in North Sydney's CBD. The smoking ban will come into force in coming months. Picture: AAP


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North Sydney Council has decided to ban smoking outdoors in its central business district, the first major CBD* in Australia to go smoke free.

Smokers will be stopped from lighting up on the streets of North Sydney in NSW in the coming months after a vote was passed at council last week.

“I think this is a historic day for North Sydney,” Mayor Jilly Gibson said.

“It is about nonsmokers claiming back the streets. There are a few smokers unhappy about it but they will get used to it.

Smoking ban media_cameraCr Gibson said a few smokers who like to smoke on the streets are unhappy about the ban but they will get used to it. Picture: AAP

“Society is changing and tolerance* towards passive smoking* is lowering all the time.”

The ban has overwhelming support from the public with a survey showing 80 per cent of people in favour.

A total of 18 per cent did not support it stating “smokers need somewhere to go” and the “government shouldn’t be regulating* behaviour”.

Cr Gibson has championed* the idea for several years and eventually would like the entire council to have smoke-free streets.

“That’s my ultimate mission,” she said.

“I don’t think it’s impossible at all.”

SMOKING BAN media_cameraNorth Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson would eventually like the entire council to have smoke-free streets. Picture: AAP

Heart Foundation CEO NSW Kerry Doyle congratulated the council for taking action to support its residents’ heart health.

“Smokers not only have more heart attacks, strokes and angina* than nonsmokers, but also at a younger age,” Ms Doyle said.

“Second-hand smoke is a problem, too. Breathing in second-hand smoke damages your arteries, just like in a person who smokes.

“Smoking bans reduce involuntary* exposure to tobacco smoke, support ex-smokers, create a cleaner environment and promote a positive health message.”

Ms Doyle said the organisation is now making a submission to City of Melbourne council in Victoria to increase the footprint of its CBD smoking ban. Smoking is currently banned in some Melbourne laneways and other areas.

It is also making a submission to Hobart City Council in Tasmania, which has now committed to expanding the area of its partial CBD smoking ban by April 2020.

Several other councils around the country have a range of outdoor smoking bans in place. Mosman Council, for instance, which borders North Sydney, has banned smoking at all beaches and parks. In 2012 in South Australia, Adelaide City Council banned smoking in Rundle Mall, its main shopping street, and adjoining laneways.

media_cameraA man walks past a bollard painted to represent a cigarette butt to raise awareness about no-smoking zones in Sydney’s Pitt St Mall. Several councils around Australia have small no-smoking zones and some have plans for more or larger no-smoking zones. Picture: AFP

In Australia in 2017-18, just under one in seven (13.8 per cent) or 2.6 million adults smoked daily, with an additional 1.4 per cent smoking some days, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Health Survey from 2017-18. These statistics have stayed relatively stable for several years.


  • CBD: central business district of a city
  • tolerance: putting up with
  • passive smoking: breathing in smoke from someone else’s smoking
  • regulated: made rules for
  • championed: supported and worked towards
  • angina: chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart
  • involuntary:


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  1. What percentage of people are in favour of the ban?
  2. What is Cr Gibson’s ultimate mission?
  3. What is passive smoking and is it bad for your health?
  4. Can people smoke in Rundle Mall, Adelaide?
  5. How many adults smoke every day in Australia?


1. Graph and interpret the numbers
Create two pie graphs about the data contained in this article:

a) a pie graph that shows the percentage of Australian adults who do smoke cigarettes versus those who do not smoke cigarettes.

b) a pie graph that shows the percentage of people surveyed who support the smoking ban in North Sydney versus those who do not support the ban.

Take a good look at the two graphs and see if you can make any connections between the information. Write a one sentence statement about something you notice.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Mathematics, Health and Physical Education

2. Extension
Design a public announcement poster that could be displayed in North Sydney informing the public of the changes. Make your design simple and clear, including just the details that you think are most important for people to know.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical Education, Visual Arts

Up in a Puff of Smoke
We all know that smoking is bad for us. But you don’t have to be the smoker to be affected. Write about a time that smoking caused a problem for you. Think about where you were. Was anyone else with you? How did it make you feel? Could you escape the smoke or were you stuck near it?

Finish by sharing how the ban would affect you? If you are not in Sydney, do you want other areas to also pick up the ban?

HAVE YOUR SAY: Would you like more outdoor smoking bans near you?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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