New smoking bans in Hobart and Salamanca cause uproar
There has been an update since the writing of this post. Smoking has now been banned in all outdoor dining areas in Tasmania.
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I’ll be upfront and say that I am all in favour of smoking bans. For far too long smokers have had the best of situations. Smoking has been banned for a long time at indoor dining areas but smokers have been able to enjoy the sunshine and outdoor dining experience and light up outside.
I don’t believe smoking should be allowed in outdoor dining areas at all and the Hobart City Council has now acted in this way.
Essentially the Hobart City Council has banned smoking in outdoor dining and drinking areas in Salamanca, North Hobart and the city precint. This has caused much anger amongst hospitality owners as they are the ones being left to enforce the ban and it currently seems that the restaurant / cafe owner will be the one fined rather than the smoker. I admit this doesn’t seem fair but I am not sure what the situation is with indoor smoking – is it the owner or the smoker who gets fined then?
As the article reveals there is also a legal problem particularly around Salamanca and the docks / Hobart waterfront area. Much of the area is controlled by the Ports Authority rather than the Hobart City Council so the smoking ban will not apply in those areas. This gives some restaurants and cafes an advantage and will attract even more smokers to those cafes and spoil it for non smokers even more.
The Tasmanian Government is being urged to step in and legislate for the whole State and ban smoking at all eating locations. A further article reveals the Government plans but predictably there is going to be much consultation and a good deal of time could pass before we have uniform laws around the State.
The Government proposal is very good and I certainly hope it comes to pass. Tasmania has great weather during the warmer months and I enjoy outdoor dining and it will be good to finally have no smoke to ruin the outdoor experience.
The Hobart City Council says that it didn’t want to wait for action from the State Government and wanted to improve the situation immediately.
The draft legislation is for a ban on smoking in all outdoor dining areas, within 20m of competition and seating at outdoor sporting venues, within 10m of playgrounds, in pedestrian and bus malls and within 3m of bus shelters.
Opponents say the ban will effect restaurants and cafes at a time when trade is already suffering. Some say it will also confuse tourists as the ban does not apply to all areas.
What do you think?