Smoking bans causes some ifs and butts

Sue Noonan thinks the soon-to-be-implemented Victorian no smoking rules for outdoor areas at eateries is unfair.

Sue Noonan thinks the soon-to-be-implemented Victorian no smoking rules for outdoor areas at eateries is unfair.

THE smoking ban that will affect eateries from August 1 has received a mixed reaction from customers and venue owners in Sale's main shopping precinct.

Venue owners have had two years to consider the new rules and many are ready for the changes, but it might be some time before some customers are convinced it's a good idea.

The state government announced in August 2015 that it would give businesses until August 1 this year to prepare for the ban, which will cover all outdoor dining areas at restaurants, caf s, take-away shops and licensed premises.

The ban will also affect footpath dining, food fairs and other organised outdoor events, including community or street festivals.

Venues that serve food after August 1 will now be required to adopt a four metre buffer or install plastic walls to shield diners from smoking customers, however, the new law will allow caf s to adopt non-smoking policies during lunch and dinner.

Coongulla resident and regular caf patron Sue Noonan told the Gippsland Times the ban was "very unfair" and went too far.

"Cigarettes are legal, so it seems unfair to ban smoking at caf s," she said.

"I really enjoy a cigarette when I sit down at a caf and I'm a very responsible smoker I don't smoke around people if they are sitting next to me.

"This is going to be very hard."

Some business owners are also wary of the ban.

The owner of the Star Hotel, Cheryl Gilmartin, said the ban could turn customers away, as some smokers would simply avoid venues that had traditionally been places where they could have a drink, relax and enjoy a cigarette.

"I'm a reformed smoker myself, but I do feel that it won't be good for some venues," she said.

Ms Gilmartin said the hotel was planning to "time zone" the outdoor area so that smoking was not allowed during meal times.

"Whenever the kitchen is open, the no-smoking policy will be enforced," she said.

Ms Gilmartin said it would take time, but people would eventually "get used to it".

"They got used to it when they banned smoking inside venues, so everyone will get used to this," she said.

"It's been banned now in many places, so it was only a matter of time that it happened where food is served."

Smoking has been banned around Victorian schools, hospitals, courts and police stations since April.

Carley Dean from Mister Raymond said the venue would simply ban all outdoor smoking.

Carley Dean from Mister Raymond said the venue would simply ban all outdoor smoking.

Carley Dean, from main street restaurant Mister Raymond, welcomed the new rules as "good for everyone".

She said the caf currently only allowed smoking at a few front tables outside, but would simply ban smoking outside from August 1.

"I think the ban is actually a good thing for everyone, so we'll just enforce it and place signs on all the tables," she said.

Manager at Wild Honey, Ellise Finney, said the caf already banned smoking at its outdoor areas.

"We'll probably put up signs, but it's already something we do."

Red Catt's Matt Raidal said the restaurant would not make any changes to the outdoor eating area, but would simply ban all outdoor smoking.

"We've been talking about it for awhile and believe it's a good thing, so we'll just let customers know that there's no smoking."

At the time the ban was announced two years ago, Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said smoking related illnesses killed 4000 Victorians each year, and cost more than $2 billion in health care and lost productivity.

Maffra resident Dean Butler has never been a fan of the allowances made for smokers.

"Smoke travels and it's a health hazard, so it's silly to make buffer zones and smoking zones; banning it altogether where there is food is a great thing," he said.

According to HealthVic, more than 73 per cent of Victorians supported the introduction of a ban on smoking in outdoor dining areas.

Gippsland Senior
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