Smokers risk tough new curbs
BRAD RYAN has been smoking on-and-off for about 30 years and now faces the prospect of no longer being legally allowed to light up in many of Lismore’s main streets.
Under a radical proposal to go to the Lismore City Council tomorrow night, smoking will be banned in the heart of the CBD bounded by Molesworth, Magellan, Keen and Woodlark streets.
Current bans on smoking within 10 metres of children’s playgrounds will be also extended to include all playing fields, sporting grounds and sporting facilities, and events run or sponsored by the council.
“In public places where there are children I understand the ban. However, I still think it is a loss of another freedom, another right,” Mr Ryan said. “There must be places were people can smoke outside.”
Formulation of the new anti-smoking policy comes as the Heart Foundation, Cancer Council of NSW and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) banded together on Friday to call on the NSW Government to take responsibility for banning smoking in key outdoor areas.
With the momentum firmly against smokers, 76 of the 152 councils in NSW have adopted some form of smoke-free outdoor areas policy, including 74 per cent of metropolitan councils and two-fifths of regional/rural councils.
That is up from a mere 28 councils statewide three years ago.
Richmond Valley Council became the first North Coast council to effectively ban smoking in its CBD in February, including bans on its beaches and at other outdoor areas.
If Lismore councillors accept the latest proposals tomorrow night, the bans will form the basis of a draft policy that will then go to the public for comment before it becomes official policy.
However, differing opinions, particularly on the suggested CBD ban, have already started to emerge within the non-smoking council.
During a workshop on the policy last week, Cr Neil Marks voiced concern that people who work in the heart of Lismore may have to walk a couple of blocks away to have a cigarette, significantly extending their ‘smoko’ breaks.
However, long-time proponent of smoking bans, mayor Jenny Dowell, pointed outmany shops had private rear areas that could be used for smoking.
Others, like reformed smoker Cr Simon Clough, worried about further stigmatising smokers and blaming them for their addiction.
The council report lists the benefits of the ban as improving the community’s health, improved public amenity, raising health issues related to smoking and minimising cigarette butt pollution.