BRIAN Lang says his friend may still be alive had smoking bans in outdoor dining areas been around when they were young lads.
"My friend died in his 50s from lung cancer," he said.
"He was a big, rotund man.
"I watched as he shrank away.
Bendigo restaurateurs have backed calls for a smoking ban in outdoor dining areas to be introduced in the city, following a trial in the City of Melbourne which has turned streets into smoke-free zones until the end of February
Mr Lang, who smoked for four years in his 20s, said his friend would not have smoked had smoking been banned in outdoor dining areas.
"It isn't seen as cool anymore," he said.
"So he probably wouldn't have smoked."
Mr Lang said smokers used to look sophisticated.
"Now people look like pigs drinking through a straw," he said.
"I wouldn't tell someone to put a cigarette out.
"But if there were bans, I would.
"Smoking bans in outdoor dining areas should be essential."
Mr Lang's wife, Bernadette, agreed, saying older people should set an example.
"I had to quit because I have asthma," she said.
"I would be annoyed if someone lit a cigarette up while I was eating a meal outside at a restaurant.
"But I wouldn't tell them to put it out."
Sarah Klooster, who has been smoking since she was 14, said a smoking ban in outdoor areas would be unacceptable.
"I'm not harming anyone," she said.
"It's not like I'm blowing it in a baby's face."