Sydney's Pitt Street Mall is going smoke-free permanently from Monday, 26 September to improve health and air quality in the shopping district.
With 65,000 pedestrians daily, City of Sydney CEO, Monica Barone, says Pitt Street Mall is one of the world’s most popular retail strips.
“This is about giving people the right to walk through one of the world’s most well-frequented retail strips without being confronted by harmful second-hand smoke,” Ms Barone says.
Shoppers are being turned off by the stench and the associated health risks of second-hand smoke, and businesses are reporting the impact of smoking nearby.
“The City has been regularly contacted by major retailers that were impacted by second-hand smoke wafting into their stores,” Ms Barone says.
The initiative is also supported by the Cancer Institute NSW and the Heart Foundation.
“The fact that Pitt Street Mall is surrounded by a number of buildings seems to trap the smoke in the area and magnify the effects of second-hand smoke.”
Businesses say the mall will become a more attractive and welcoming environment to the tens of thousands of daily visitors.
What is passive smoking?
Second-hand smoke, also known as environmental smoke, is the smoke being exhaled by a smoker and burning from the end of a cigarette or cigar.
When someone else breathes in this smoke, it is referred to as passive smoking.
Passive smoking often happens against an individual’s will, and is the result of being nearby someone else who is smoking.
What are the effects of passive smoking?
Most people are aware second-hand smoke is not healthy for them, but how damaging is it?
The effects on non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke include:
- Increased risk of lung cancer
- Increased risk of coronary heart disease.
Non-smokers who live with the second-hand smoke of a smoker increase their risk of lung cancer by between 20 and 30 per cent.
Why is passive smoking so dangerous?
There is no known safe level of exposure to passive smoking.
For a non-smoker, as well as for a smoker, breathing in second-hand tobacco smoke carries significant health risks.
Why are the risks of passive smoking so high, given a non-smoker doesn't breathe in anywhere near as much tobacco smoke as a smoker?
For starters, any amount of cigarette smoke is bad for you and increases your risk of cancer.
On top of that, evidence shows smoke burning off the end of a cigarette (called sidestream smoke) may be more toxic than the mainstream smoke a smoker would inhale.
Second-hand tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals and 69 are known to cause cancer.
Quitting smoking reduces your risk of cancer and offers immediate and long-term health benefits for you and your family.