Smoking ban ?inevitable

Smoker Kevin Tomkinson with non-smoker Peter Lofts at the Great Northern. A beer and a smoke go together says Kevin
Smoker Kevin Tomkinson with non-smoker Peter Lofts at the Great Northern. A beer and a smoke go together says Kevin

The NSW Government's total smoking ban in licensed premises by July 2007 was inevitable, according to Byron Bay hotelier Tom Mooney.

Last week Premier Bob Carr announced that by July 2007 there would be a total smoking ban in hotels.

The news was welcomed by the 26,000 people who have lobbied the government through the Go Smoke Free campaign, according to the NSW Cancer Council.

Mr Mooney, owner of Byron Bay's Rails Hotel and the Hotel Great Northern, said while hotels would suffer initially from the ban, they would recover.

"Smokers are a flexible bunch. We treat them worse than heroin addicts, but they will adapt," he said.

"If they can ban smoking in Ireland in their 7,000 pubs and survive, they can do it anywhere in the world.

"The three-year-phase-in period is a good compromise. We already have stopped smokers puffing away near the bar, they have to be two metres back."

But smoker of 34 years and Great Northern patron, Kevin Tomkinson, was not so sure smokers would adapt.

"I've been smoking since I was 13 and I'm still fit. The ban will stop me coming to the pub because a beer and a smoke go together. The pubs will most certainly suffer," Kevin said.

Kevin's drinking partner, Peter Lofts, is a non-smoker but believes the ban on smoking is wrong.

"Pubs are about the only place the worker can come and have a beer and a smoke. Ban smoking and no one will be here. If my drinking, smoking mates aren't here then there is no point in me coming to the pub," Peter said.

Clubs, that come under the same smoking ban stil had a number of "concerns regarding the practical implementation of the three stage phase of indoor smoking bans.

Clubs NSW CEO David Costello said clubs would be requesting a meeting with Minsiter Frank Sartor for clarification in regards to the specifics of the time line for smoking bans.

"Smoking will only be allowed in one room as of July next year and this room can only be for gaming or drinking, but not both.

"Most clubs are also not set up as individual rooms. The question of how a club will define a room which is part of a larger floor area needs defining," Mr Costello said.

Meanwhile the National Heart Foundation of Australia welcomed the announcement.

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