People free to smoke in public
SAYING it would be “impossible to police”, Gympie Region Mayor Ron Dyne expressed his concerns over council introducing a local law that would see smoking banned in public places like bus stops.
“Whilst it is legally sold, why would we force people into hiding behind light poles and trees to enjoy (a cigarette),” he said.
Cr Dyne said he understood smoking wasn’t good for people’s health but didn’t agree there needed to be a law against smoking in public.
The issue was brought forth in council’s Community and Economic Development meeting after the Cancer Council wrote urging council to enact a total ban on smoking in public malls and spaces. In January, the Queensland Government granted local governments the power to regulate smoking in public places like malls, bus stops and taxi ranks.
The letter said banning smoking would help improve community health and appeal of the region, and promote an increased use of public space for recreational and tourism purposes.
“Furthermore a total ban would be likely to reduce the costs to ratepayers of cigarette litter, raising your region’s reputation as a great location in which to live and holiday,” the letter said.
Council’s Environmental Health Officer Celia Dempster said a new local law would have to be developed to regulate a ban on smoking but council would need a lot of extra resources to enforce the bans.
Cr Donna Nielson said she would hate to be the council officer trying to enforce the ban at 3am at the Monkland Street Taxi Rank. But Cr Jan Watt said the ban would stop people inhaling second-hand smoke, which could be a killer.
The committee decided not to adopt a local law prohibiting smoking in public places.