People caught flouting the smoking ban in Crown Street Mall can expect to cop advice – not a fine – after Wollongong City Council revealed it is taking a more lenient approach to its smoke-free policy.
Council is yet to issue a single fine to smokers caught lighting up in the mall since implementing the ban six months ago.
Instead council officers are issuing people with ‘‘smoke-free’’ information sheets until November this year, as part of an education and awareness campaign.
‘‘People observed smoking in the Crown Street Mall by council officers or security are advised that the [mall] is a smoke-free zone, and are issued with a smoke-free FAQs sheet,’’ a council spokesman said.
‘‘During November 2013, there were more than 1000 people in the mall who were advised that this area was now smoke-free.
‘‘This number decreased by 50 per cent in December 2013, and has continued to decrease over the past three months.’’
Council will also launch the Nicci Butt Campaign in the mall later this month, to coincide with World No Tobacco Day on May 31.
‘‘This campaign, which is being delivered by council in partnership with Smoke Free Illawarra, will promote the benefits of having a smoke-free environment,’’ the spokesman said.
‘‘It will also encourage people to self-regulate and modify their habits in the lead-up to the first anniversary of the introduction of smoke-free areas.’’
The smoke-free zone includes Crown Street between Keira and Kembla streets, Globe Lane, Globe Way and Church Street from Globe Lane to Court Lane, as well as licensed outdoor dining and council-owned alfresco areas in the mall.
There was overwhelming support for the ban during the consultation period, with more than 85per cent of people surveyed in support of a smoke-free zone.