Push to ban pool smoking modified

By SAMANTHA TURNBULL

WHERE there's smoke there's ire.

And a decision to allow smoking at the new Lismore Memorial Baths has created plenty of ire among the region's anti-smoking campaigners.

A proposal to ban smoking at the baths, scheduled to open in April, was put forward by Lismore City councillor Jenny Dowell at a meeting on Tuesday night.

However, the idea was supported by just three of Cr Dowell's 11 fellow councillors.

Cr Dowell said most people she had spoken to were shocked when they were told smoking was permitted at the old baths.

"The aim of this motion is to protect young, unformed lungs from ingesting smoke," she told the meeting.

"Pools are all about fitness and vitality ? smoking does not belong there."

Cr Peter Graham was one of the nine who objected to the motion in favour of a recommendation from council staff to create a designated smokers' area at the baths.

"I've never touched a cigarette in my life, I'm as straight as they come, or as old-fashioned as they come, I don't know which ... well I do know which," he said.

"But the Memorial Baths are for everyone."

Caniaba mother Kim Curtis, who successfully campaigned for Lismore playgrounds to be made smoke-free, said she understood but did not like Cr Graham's reasoning.

"I can see why they're not brave enough to make that move at the pool when they will at playgrounds, because playgrounds are for children and pools are for everyone," she said.

"One day it will happen."

The decision was slammed by Cancer Council spokeswoman Wendy Oakes, who said it was extremely disappointing.

"There's a lot of support for banning smoking where children can be exposed to smoke," she said.

"But it's also about not letting children see people smoking. We want to present areas like pools as fun, active and family-oriented ? it's difficult to do that with smokers around."

A last-minute amendment by Cr Frank Swientek to add the words 'non-modelling' in front of smokers' area will mean the smokers should be hidden.



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