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Manukau encourages smoke-free public places

Media Release
26 September 2008

Manukau encourages smoke-free public places

Manukau City Council last night adopted a smoke-free areas policy.

The policy aims to encourage people to refrain from smoking in areas used by children – playgrounds, skate parks, stadiums and courts, sports fields and public events.

Portfolio leader for community services, Councillor John Walker, says the council is taking a common sense approach to the policy.

“Our approach is educative – we are requesting that people do not smoke in our parks, particularly in areas where there are children.

“This policy is all about the kids. When they see people around them smoke, they are more likely to believe that smoking is a common or normal activity, and more likely to become smokers themselves.”

Waitakere City Council is also introducing a similar policy.

John Loof, Auckland Cancer Society’s chief executive, says the society is delighted to be working with both councils as they introduce their smoke-free areas in parks policies.

“It is estimated that about 5000 New Zealanders die from smoking-related illnesses each year. If we can stop just a few of the region’s young people from becoming smokers, then we’ll have been successful.”

Manukau City Council is currently working on the policy’s implementation.

ENDS

Note to editors:
Some of the findings of a Counties Manukau DHB report on the Smoking Prevalence Rates Census 2006 are:
(i) The prevalence of regular smokers in Counties Manukau is 22.1%; this is higher than the New Zealand prevalence of 20.7%.
(ii) Higher rates of smoking are observed among Maori (46.8%) and Pacific peoples (30.3%) in Counties Manukau compared to other ethnicities.
(iii) The prevalence of ex-smokers in Counties Manukau is 17.0%, is lower than the national prevalence of ex-smokers, 22.1%.

Community Views: Recent data gathered from the 2007 HSC Adult Smoke-free/Auahi Kore monitor show:

(i) Three-quarters of respondents believed it was ‘not at all’ acceptable to smoke at outdoor children’s playgrounds (76.4 percent).

(ii) Around 70 percent of respondents agreeing with the statement ‘Smoking should be banned in all outdoor public places that children are likely to go’ (51.4 percent strongly agreed, 18 percent slightly agreed).


ENDS

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