Council considers smoke-free CBD

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Paul McKinlay, of The Barbers in Cambridge Place Arcade, says trying to ban smoking in the city's CBD will be a waste of time.

THE Invercargill City Council (ICC) has agreed to consider making the CBD smoke-free, but not everyone’s convinced it would work.

The decision to begin consultation was made at council’s July 4 meeting with Cr Darren Ludlow saying Invercargill should “get on board” with the country’s aim to be smoke-free by 2025 and seconded by Cr Alex Crackett.

A report submitted to the ICC on behalf of the Smokefree Coalition showed 73 of 87 business owners surveyed in Invercargill’s CBD said they would support a ban on smoking in the city centre.

One anonymous business owner had even suggested digital footage of diseased lungs being shown in the CBD to discourage smokers.

However, Paul McKinlay, who runs The Barbers in Cambridge Place Arcade, said the smoke-free idea was a waste of time.

“People seem to be more concerned with how others live their lives than with how they run theirs.”

Mr McKinlay said he no longer sold tobacco because it wasn’t economical, so a smoke-free CBD wouldn’t affect him either way.

He said people often took no notice of the dog and skateboard bans in town, so why would banning smoking be any different?

Smoker Robert MacDonald, of Invercargill, agreed, saying the ban would be hard to enforce.

Other people smoking in the CBD declined to give their opinions.

Several interviewees in the Smokefree Coalition survey suggested creating designated smoking areas on rooftops or other tall structures to keep smoking out of sight from children.

Almost all of the 68 overseas tourists questioned in Queenstown (making up part of the Smokefree Coalition’s report) said they thought adults should not smoke around children, with only a few staying neutral on the issue.

Of the 101 international tourists questioned in Invercargill, 13 were smokers and 82 supported Invercargill’s CBD becoming smoke-free.

A clear majority – 95% – said they preferred to eat in a smoke-free area.

Ninety of the 101 said they thought smoke-free areas in the CBD would reduce cigarette litter.

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