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May 30, 2023

Cafe smokers face $300 fines if caught outdoors

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Cigarette butts are tossed into the street as a result of smoking bans in the Lismore CBD. (Darren Coyne)
Cigarette butts are tossed into the street as a result of smoking bans in the Lismore CBD. (Darren Coyne)

The days of having a cigarette with your coffee at cafes across New South Wales will end next month. And if you break the rule, it could cost you $30o.

As of 6 July, all commercial outdoor dining areas across the state will be smoke-free, according to Jillian Adams, the health promotion office for the Northern NSW Local Health District.

‘There is strong public support for making outdoor dining areas smoke-free and a number of businesses have already voluntarily banned smoking in their outdoor dining areas with positive results,’ Ms Adams said.

Last week, NSW Minister for Health Jillian Skinner said that new NSW Population Health Survey data had highlighted a continued decline in adult smoking rates in NSW – down from 16.4 per cent in 2013 to 15.6 per cent in 2014.

Smokers in Lismore have been subjected to bans since Lismore City Council introduced ‘smoke free leasing arrangements’ as part of its smoke free Central Business District policy in 2012.

As a result of that policy, café owners have been encouraged to ban smoking outside or risk losing their al fresco dining lease.

Some cafes, such as the Dragonfly Café, have adopted the policy willingly, while others have grudgingly accepted the changes.

Dragonfly manager Lisa Yacopetti said it was ‘a great decision to go smoke-free’, and that customers had responded positively to the change.

Around the corner at the Mecca Café, a popular spot for smokers to enjoy a cigarette with their coffee, smoking has been banned although it has been unclear how the ban would be enforced.

A common sight these days, since ashtrays have been removed, is cigarette butts discarded in surrounding storm-water drains.

According to Ms Adams, authorized inspectors will be monitoring outdoor dining areas and will be issuing on-the-spot fines of $300 to smokers, and penalties up to $5,500 will apply to business owners if a person is found smoking in an outdoor area.


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  1. I can’t say I’m concerned for the smokers. Walking past that Mecca cafe in Lismore is most unpleasant. I have to cross the road at that point to escape the overwhelming fugg that gets into my nose and sticks to my clothes.

    I’m sorry for the smokers, but there’s a park nearby. Maybe they can get takeaway coffees and go over there.

  2. Fair enough, but what about the people who insist on bringing their bloody dogs ? If you can bring your dog to the cafe, I’m lighting up !


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