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Holy Smoke! It Hasn’t Been That Hard

Media Statement

Wednesday 6 December 2006

Holy Smoke! It Hasn’t Been That Hard!

Restricting the areas where you can smoke during the Galaxy High School Old Boys Touch Rugby Module this summer hasn’t been as hard as organisers expected!

And an informal Tairawhiti District Health (TDH) survey of 23 people playing or watching the touch games has shown 83% of respondents support the idea.

“I was expecting the worst!” says Touch Module Coordinator Maria Baty, who has had to remind only two people since the competition started that the venue was smokefree.

“In the first week we had to go around and say to a few people “Hey. It’s Auahi Kore here”, even though they could see the signs! But I guess it’s habit for so many smokers. Twice I went up to someone and they said ‘Oh sorry’. That’s what is so cool about it. No one gets defensive.”

Anybody choosing to smoke during the Friday night touch games is encouraged to use the clubroom balcony, or move to the far end of the main playing field to an area designated for smokers.

Ms Baty said the balcony is used but the long walk down to the end of the field hadn’t appealed to some smokers and instead they have taken their cigarette outside the facility. “An even better result.”

Smokefree messages are promoted heavily at the weekly fixtures with signage and spot prizes. Referees wear smokefree sponsored merchandise and regular announcements over the public address system remind people about the designated smoking areas. There is smoking cessation support provided by Turanga Health some evenings.

“Even if you can stop them smoking for that one and a half hours, that’s a good thing in my book,” Ms Baty said.

Of the 23 respondents interviewed for the TDH survey, only three were smokers. Of those, two supported the smokefree kaupapa. “If you don’t do it now it will never happen,” said one.

The Galaxy High School Old Boys Touch Rugby Module runs until the end of February.

ENDS

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