It's time to butt out

TAKE a deep breath.

Chances are if you are in a pub or club you will taste change in the air today, as a total smoking ban in enclosed public areas of licensed premises comes into force in New South Wales.

Most Coffs Harbour licensees have ensured smokers will not be put out by the new laws and have supplied smoking areas that complied with legislation.

However smokers at the Pier Hotel will temporarily be left out in the cold, as new licensee Anthony Calder awaits approval on two new smoking decks.

"At the moment we are planning a smoking deck out the back off the terrace and a deck off the public and lounge bar area," he said.

"In the meantime smokers will have to go to the carpark because they won't be allowed on the footpath. And they will have to put their beer down before they go, because the car park isn't licensed."

Starting at the Pier just two weeks ago, Anthony agrees smokers probably won't be happy with the change but says he can't help it.

"Hopefully the decks will be finished soon," he said.

"I know our regulars are going to whinge but they will get used to it. Overall, I think it will bring more people to the hotel because they won't have to put up with the smoke."

Patrons who smoke at the Coffs Hotel where the smoking area is an open-air beer garden in the centre of the pub may have been a bit anxious about having to shuffle out the back for a fix, but manager Donna Phillips said not to worry.

"The beer garden is fine (to remain a smoking area). There is enough open air (which means more than 25 per cent of the area is not enclosed due to having no roof) to allow smoking there."

Fans of alfresco dining have nothing to be concerned about either.

"People aren't doing anything wrong by smoking there even if meals are being eaten there. People choosing to eat outside are aware that it is a smoking area."

Poker machine enthusiasts will have an adjustment to make, however, with the gaming room now designated a no-smoke zone.

"But we are getting more reservation signs to help gamers to have peace of mind that their machine won't be tampered with while they are having a cigarette break," Donna said.

"It will be fine. People were aware that the legislation was coming."

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