Prepare for a breath of fresh air
By BRIAN BIGG
THE air is about to clear inside all our clubs and pubs. From July 2 it will be against the law to smoke inside a licensed premises.
And while many smokers are in favour of the move, when the smoke clears it will have cost clubs especially, a lot of money.
Clubs NSW media manager Jeremy Bath says their studies indicated there was a 'significant' cost in lost revenue in the short term from sending smokers outside.
"In some places where bans are already in place, there was at least a 10 percent fall in revenue," he said.
"In the ACT, the fall was closer to 20 percent."
However, Mr Bath said their projections suggested over a long term the move would prove to be 'revenue neutral'.
Ballina RSL Services Club general manager Bill Coulter has had his hands full preparing for the big day, amid a giant renovation of the club.
"We are creating four new outdoor terraces, one of which will be non smoking, for outdoor dining and other activity." he says.
"It is designed to be a pleasant outdoor area, with plants, furniture etc."
Patrons at the Australian Hotel in Ballina yesterday were enthusiastic about the ban.
Dok, a semi professional poker player, said not being able to have a smoke while drinking would encourage him to kick the habit.
"I've been meaning to give up for ages. If no one's smoking around me at the pub, it'll help."
Another patron, Peter Henderson said it was great the hotels and clubs were providing outdoor areas for smokers. He predicted few people would complain.
"I think you'll be surprised at how positive people will be about having a smoke-free environment."