New Plymouth bar owners say moves to ban smoking inside and out could cripple their businesses.
Many bars have spent considerable money building outdoor areas for smoking patrons .
To have the Government and smoking groups turn around and suggest a total ban would have a huge effect on business, Treehouse bar and restaurant owner Wayne Brougham said.
"I know the previous owners spent a fortune to do those areas," he said.
Brougham said a large percentage of his patrons smoked and to shut them off could stop them coming at all.
"To ban smoking all together would have a major impact. People won't come or they will come and not stay long."
"I can see it really hurting our business. I think it's going a little too far," he said.
Smokers are going to smoke and telling them can't was unfair, Brougham said.
"It's discrimination on some level."
"A big portion of our customers smoke and I don't see that changing in a hurry."
Crowded House owner Doc Van Praagh said having a designated smoking area was working fine and shouldn't be tampered with.
"We had all our bars re-catered for smokers at a really big expense. This system's not broke so don't try to fix it."
Van Praagh said the smokers' area was often the busiest place in the bar and he would be disappointed if smoking was outlawed.
"I wouldn't be happy with a ban or change. We should give people the freedom of choice and let them do what they want to do."
Bans have been proposed by politicians and anti-smoking groups after research found that people sitting just inside were exposed to almost the same amount of second-hand smoke as those who sat in the smoking area.
Bans are said to be part of the Government's goal of a smoke-free New Zealand by 2025.
Van Praagh said he believed telling someone they couldn't smoke was ridiculous
"If they want to have a smoke and a drink they should be able to so long as its not affecting those who don't want to be by smokers.
"If people don't want to be near smokers, then sit somewhere else or ask the staff to shut the doors."
- Taranaki Daily News
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