TAMWORTH looks like becoming the first council area to introduce a full-blown cigarette smoking ban in a wide area of public spaces and sports and people places.
And that blanket ban in many civic places could be in place within two months. Moves to bring in a smoke-free zone in the inner eight blocks of the Tamworth city centre, outside of schools, childcare centres and health facilities, near council-owned buildings, at sporting grounds and parks, and near alfresco restaurants and cafes, look likely to be imposed before the end of the year.
Tamworth Regional Council has endorsed a new wide-ranging smoke-free environment policy – which, while not a groundbreaker in itself, is a first when it comes to an all- inclusive ban which includes the use of the new, contemporary electronic cigarettes as well.
The continuing cascade of anti-smoking regulation from the Federal Government through the states to local government is really starting to become a civil liberties issue. Those advocating the Tamworth ban have the same smug, moral authoritarian tone that we have come to expect. Aren't we good to be doing this for you?
The actual health benefits of the proposed actions are highly suspect. It won't affect passive smoking. It is unlikely to force smokers to stop, although it may bring further changes in smoking habits that are not necessarily good. It will certainly affect the way that smokers respond to Tamworth.
I wonder how they expect to enforce the ban during Country Music Week for example? There seems to be an immediate expectation that Council can rely on persuasion, "education", rather than coercion. However, should "education" fail, coercion will no doubt follow. After all, it is for your own good!
I may smoke, but I do not want to encourage smoking. However, there has to be a balance in this type of stuff, and I think that balance has been lost. Frankly, the Tamworth proposals are screwy on any objective measure. Perhaps its time for smokers to respond to all these pressures by selective boycotts? Like boycotting Tamworth?
Even the Poms are laughing at our Nanny State now!