HARD TO ENFORCE: Owner of the Mecca Cafe in Lismore, Todd McLean, has talked about the difficulties in policing the non-smoking policy.
HARD TO ENFORCE: Owner of the Mecca Cafe in Lismore, Todd McLean, has talked about the difficulties in policing the non-smoking policy. Cathy Adams

Business owners struggle to enforce NSW smoke ban

BUSINESS owners are struggling to enforce new rules that ban smoking in outdoor dining areas.

The legislation came into effect two weeks ago.

But the owners of the Mecca Cafe in Lismore, Todd and Kelly McLean, said they didn't think it should be their responsibility to ensure their patrons weren't breaking the law.

"If there's someone speeding, it's the policeman's responsibility to deal with that, so I think this should be under someone else's control as well," Mr McLean said.

"It's really hard to do business as it is, let alone to scare people away and we're not quite sure how to go about it."

NSW Health senior environmental officer Tony Kohlenberg said business owners should put up "No Smoking" signs and tell anyone smoking to move on or face breaching the law.

"It's not prescribed in the legislation that they have to do anything more than that, but it's their call if they want to phone NSW Health or even the police," he said.

Mrs McLean said the underlying issue was a need for more allocated smoking areas around town.

"We've tried to do the right thing and ask them to move away, but they might just go four shops down the road where it's still not in a controlled area," she said.

"It's happening all around the streets."

NSW Business Chamber regional manager John Murray said he sympathises with businesses.

"It's not easy being in business today, or even the food industry because there are different areas of compliance you need to be totally on top off," he said.

"Enforcement on patrons in regards to smoking - it's another task that has to be taken on by owners but I think smokers generally want to do the right thing."

In Sydney, some businesses have opted to sacrifice their outdoor dining areas to turn them into smoking zones.


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