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Smokers face new ban

SALLY GLAETZER | October 09, 2012 12.01am

THE Hobart City Council has rejected an industry push to relax its tough anti-smoking policy for outdoor dining areas and may take the rules a step further with a total ban on smoking on footpaths.

At last night’s council meeting aldermen voted to reject a call by the Tasmanian Hospitality Association to scale back its ban on smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas within the city. Ald Marti Zucco suggested the council ban smoking along footpaths completely.

He said that would stop people smoking along Salamanca Place altogether, whereas the ban currently applies only to alfresco seating areas along the popular restaurant and bar strip.

“At the moment people smoke outside the barrier of an outdoor dining area. I believe that’s worse than being inside the barrier,” Ald Zucco said.

His motion to investigate the Manly City Council’s extensive ban on smoking in outdoor areas was carried by the council, much to the dismay of Hospitality association general manager Steve Old.

Mr Old said Hobart eateries and bars were already struggling because of the existing regulations.

“So where are these people supposed to smoke?” he said.

“People have a right to choose what they want to do and smoking is not illegal.”

The association had been lobbying the council to bring its smoking rules in line with state legislation, which prevents smoking in outdoor dining areas during meal times only.

Mr Old said the Hobart-specific rules introduced last August had become a policing nightmare for bar staff and security guards, particularly in waterfront areas including Salamanca area, and were causing altercations among late night drinkers who wanted to smoke.

Ald Zucco told the Mercury that despite the motion he put forward at last night’s meeting, he was actually opposed to the council going it alone on smoking regulations. He agreed with Mr Old that the council’s role should be to lobby the State Government on the issue.

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