Sydney City rangers will walk around with ashtrays asking smokers to stub out their cigarettes

A woman smokes in Martin Place. Photo: Getty Images

A plan to ban smoking in all outdoor areas of one of Sydney’s busiest tourist thouroughfares, Martin Place, has been approved.

The 12-month trial — effective today — will see Sydney City Council enforce a total smoking ban on all outdoor areas of the popular pedestrian strip.

The ABC reports councillor Jenny Green said rangers would patrol the area carrying ashtrays and asking smokers to put out their cigarettes.

“The general open space area will now be smoke-free, so anyone wanting to eat their lunch, read, just sit in the sun – the people next to them obviously won’t be able to smoke,” she said.

A survey of more than 700 people agreed the area should be smoke-free.

The ban was proposed by Liberal councillor Christine Forster, who in early December said if it were successful, the council would look at a motion to expand the ban to Pitt St Mall.

Depending on the time of day, between 3% and 8% of people in Martin Place were found to be smoking, according to a survey conducted last month. The survey revealed there were around 1400 people in Martin Place at 1pm on a typical weekday.

NSW law already disallows smoking at bus stops, taxi ranks and within four metres of an entrance to a public building. From July 2015, these restrictions will apply to cafes, clubs, hotels and restaurants. Offenders may be issued fines of up to $550.

There’s more on the public smoking ban here.