Venice mulls smoking ban in historic centre

A cigarette holder on the edge of the railings on the bridge with some cigarettes on it inside in Venice Italy

Venice is considering introducing smoke-free zones in the streets and squares of its historic centre.

The new regulations join a swathe of new rules the city has introduced to cope with overtourism, such as banning picnicking at popular sites among other offences, as well as its tourism tax.

According to Lonely Planet, Mayor Luigi Brugnaro came up with the idea of smoke-free zones after visiting Japan, which has implemented various anti-smoking laws including banning smoking while walking on busy streets and in certain areas.

Brugnaro told an Italian mayor’s forum in Rome the potential ban would first be rolled out in tourism hot spots in the historic centre like Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square.

“A ban on smoking would help to make Venice cleaner,” he said, according to the Local Italy.

“I’m speaking as someone who enjoys the occasional cigar, but I always try to avoid smoking when there are lots of people around, even if I’m out in the open.”

He also said Venetian authorities are considering handing out small plastic bags for visitors to dispose of their cigarettes, rather than littering the streets and canals.

But with research indicating that a quarter of Italian adults smoke, the ban is just as likely to affect locals as it is tourists.

Venice is cracking down on tourist behaviour, with two backpackers copping a $1,500 fine as well as being asked to leave the city after police caught them making coffee on the steps of the Rialto Bridge.

The city is also looking at banning large cruise ships from entering its historic centre.

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