Where there?s smoke ... there shouldn?t be sport!

THE YEAR is fast running out of puff.

The same could be happening to smokers on the green.

From next July, government legislation bans smoking in all club foyers, auditoriums, toilets and thoroughfares, and limits it to only one bar or gaming area.

From the following July, further restrictions will apply, culminating in a complete indoor smoking ban in clubs by July the next year.

At present there's no actual legislation on smoking outdoors at clubs. But the medically-condemned habit is banned in many outdoor public areas where it could affect people's health.

So it's inevitable . . . no whiffs or butts . . . the days of our game's on-green puffers are numbered.

And not before time.

As a smoking wowser I've whinged often enough about having to breathe fresh air laced with carcinogenic smoke while I'm bowling.

Every sport is prohibited from displaying advertisements for smoking.

Yet bowls allows its players to smoke ? something no other sport does.

Worse, bowls actually encourages it by providing each rink with hideous painted battery boxes or prune tins into which smokers are supposed to toss their spit-saturated cigarette ends.

I look forward to the time when bowlers don't have to stand to windward of an opponent so they won't cop his smoke and ash, when the ditch sand isn't littered with butts that have missed the prune tin, when we can enjoy clean, untainted air.

The crackdown on smoking is an opportunity for bowls clubs to beat the authorities to the punch. Let's see the clubs impose a ban on smoking on the green voluntarily before they're made to do it.

At present they're simply pandering to the couldn't-care-less minority who are prepared to inflict on others their indifference to what they're doing to their own bodies.

Bowls is supposed to be a healthy outdoor sport.

Clubs, before they're forced to, should return it to that.


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