CBD ban a drag for smokers
THE days of smoking in the Lismore CBD may be numbered if the public response to an coming council survey matches the mood in the town yesterday.
Even the hard-core smokers appeared mostly resigned to the reality of smoke-free public spaces, signalling a decisive shift in the personal freedom-vs-public health debate.
Long-time smoker Stan Mortimer of Lismore enjoys hitting the Mecca Cafe in Magellan St once or twice a week to catch up with friends.
"It's nice to come and have a coffee and a smoke," he said.
"But you can't just worry about yourself, especially if there are children around or they have asthma."
Cafe manager Janette McLean was equally philosophical.
"We didn't opt to take up the new dining lease for no fees when council offered - we continued to pay so we could have all this - but when the (outdoor dining lease) comes up this year we'll be on the non-smoking list anyway," Ms McLean said.
"But I don't know what effect it will have, I mean who really knows, but there are still a lot of smokers out there in the community."
Councillors discussed the survey at a briefing on Tuesday night ahead of its intended distribution later this month.
While staff admitted the move would be more gesture than enforced, councillor Neil Marks questioned the point of the ban, to which the Mayor Jenny Dowell responded by suggesting the signs would make it easier to discourage smoking.
Councillor Isaac Smith agreed, saying he knew many who quit because they had simply run out of places to light-up.
"I'd like to walk down the street and not have my kids breathing smoke," Cr Smith said.
Council staff will mail questionnaires to 500 random ratepayers later this month and the wider community will then be able access it at designated places or on council's website.
Staff will report back to councillors in May.
Key stakeholders, including sporting clubs and Australian Hotels Association members, will be directly invited to comment.
Cr Dowell admitted the issue raised passions, but said the move was in response to a previous council resolution to develop a policy on smoking in public spaces and she saw it reflecting a wider health awareness trend "based on good information about second-hand smoke".
"My personal view is I would like to see a smoke-free CBD, but I acknowledge that council is all about compromise," she said.
SHOULD SMOKING BE BANNED IN THE LISMORE CBD?
SMS 0428 264 948, email email@example.com or leave a comment below.