Smoking ban not practical, says mayor

A TOTAL ban on smoking in public places in central Melbourne is unenforceable and unlikely to be backed by Melbourne City Council, lord mayor Robert Doyle said.

Fellow councillor Richard Foster has proposed a ban on smoking in public places throughout the city of Melbourne, stretching from Carlton to Southbank, but Cr Doyle said the ban would not work.

''I am more against smoking than anybody I know,'' he said. ''My mother died very painfully of lung cancer, directly caused by cigarette smoking, a few years ago, so I have been very personally touched by the effects of lung cancer caused by smoking.''

But, Cr Doyle said, ''if it is not enforceable then a law becomes a laughing stock. A city-wide ban would not be enforceable.''

The council has banned smoking in outdoor areas at childcare centres and in playgrounds but last year decided against a trial smoking ban in the Bourke Street Mall after a mixed response.

''While I am keen to continue a discussion that looks at implementing bans in an incremental way, it needs to be practicable, you need to be able to enforce it and you have to talk to the community about what you are going to do, otherwise it simply won't work,'' Cr Doyle said.

He hopes restaurants and bars will come forward to voluntarily try a ban on smoking in outdoor eating and drinking areas, and is also happy to revisit the Bourke Street Mall proposal and consider smoking bans for sporting grounds.

Most Melbourne councillors contacted by Fairfax on Wednesday supported measures to reduce the harmful effects of passive smoking in public areas but would not comment on a total ban in public places before further discussions.

Cr Foster said he had been surprised by the ''overwhelmingly positive'' response to his public smoking ban proposal, ''even from smokers and reformed smokers'' - including himself.

This story Smoking ban not practical, says mayor first appeared on The Age.