Cafe owners back smoking bans
By Alex Easton
TONY PILATI'S face lit up when he was told he may be forced to ban customers from smoking outside his cafe.
Mr Pilati's cafe, La Baracca, is one of many around the Lismore CBD to offer footpath dining. The cafe's footpath tables are the last haven for smokers since the State Government this week extended indoor smoking bans to cover all parts of pubs and clubs.
However, Lismore City councillor Jenny Dowell wants to close that loophole as well. She'll put a motion to next week's council meeting that would ban smoking at all Lismore's footpath dining areas.
The proposal has been partly inspired by council officers who fear a rush of footpath dining requests from pubs and clubs trying to get around the new laws, she said Cr Dowell said she feared that allowing those changes would create concentrated areas of smokers and serve as de facto advertising for cigarettes by 'modelling' smoking.
"We don't allow advertising, but we permit modelling behaviour," Cr Dowell said.
"There are lots of kids in%families who don't normally see it and then you have this modelling of smoking for young people."
The first of the development applications from a pub wanting an outdoor smoking area has already been lodged. Doug Hogan, the owner of South Lismore's Station%Hotel, wants to set up a small outdoor dining area.
Mr Hogan, who does not smoke, yesterday said the new laws should not apply to his pub and those like it.
"It should be a matter of common sense; but common sense is a pretty rare commodity," Mr Hogan said.
"In the old Powerhouse where it was enclosed and the smoke got so thick you could hardly see across the room, I'd say 'fair enough'. But down there (at his hotel), with all those windows and doors open and a breeze going through, what harm can it do?
"It should be horses for courses, not one rule fits all." Mr Pilati said he would love to ban smoking from footpath dining areas, but it could drive some customers to rival cafes.
His customers frequently complained about fellow customers lighting up next to them while they were eating. He is also concerned about the potential risks posed by passive smoking on his staff's health.