SMOKERS are being made to feel like lepers amid a controversial plan to ban smoking in the Wagga CBD, according to a Wagga smoker.
Tracey Seach, a mother of four, said Wagga City councillor Greg Conkey’s push to make main streets smoke-free was “another example of the smoker being treated like a social leper”.
Cr Conkey’s motion, which will be put to council on Monday night, foreshadows the state government’s push to ban smoking in commercial outdoor dining areas in licensed premises and restaurants and within four metres of a shop entrance from July 6.
“They are not illegal,” Ms Seach said of cigarettes. “While they continue to be sold in the CBD, they will be consumed there also.
“Too many infringements on freedom of choice.
“The government doesn't mind pocketing the smokers’ money, tut tut.”
Cr Conkey, whose anti-smoking campaigning extends some 30 years, defended criticisms over legal rights being stripped of those who chose to smoke.
“I think 83 per cent of people who don’t smoke have rights too,” he said.
“I believe they’re entitled to smoke-free air when they're working or visiting the centre.
“I believe you have to look at the rights of the majority.”
If the motion is supported at Monday night’s council meeting, staff will prepare a report into banning smoking from Station Place to Knight’s Meat and a block either side of Fitzmaurice and Baylis streets.
Cignall Tobacconist owner Wayne Carroll slammed the proposal, questioning how the billions of dollars in tax cigarettes generate will be countered.
“It’s a free country, you’re allowed to smoke,” he said.
“If it’s good enough to be sold, it’s good enough to be smoked in the right places.”
Cache co-owner Anthony Chambeyron said they were in the process of building an outdoor smoking section at the rear in anticipation of incoming legislation to cater for both smoking and non-smoking clientele.
The Borough proprietor Drew Adams also welcomed Cr Conkey’s calls and didn’t expect it to affect business.
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