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Council adopts smokefree policy

Council adopts smokefree policy

The Christchurch City Council, with support from Smokefree Canterbury, today approved a policy that will make all parks and reserves (including playgrounds and sports parks) as well as Council-owned events in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula smokefree.

The policy is the culmination of 18 months work which started when students from Hornby High School put forward a case for smokefree playgrounds to their local community board.

Supported by Partnership Health Primary Health Organisation (PHO), a trial of smokefree playgrounds in Hornby resulted in a high degree of support within the community for smokefree playgrounds and parks.

By focusing on public outdoor areas the Council is sending a message that our children need positive smokefree role models and that their health should be protected from the effects of smoking.

Christchurch City Council spokesperson Alan Bywater said smokefree outdoor public places have a big role to play in making smokefree environments the norm, and showing young people that smoking is the exception rather than the rule.

“We all need to take responsibility for the health of our children. This policy is for a smokefree future generation as our children are the next generation of non-smokers,” said Mr Bywater.

“It’s not about punishing smoking or telling smokers they can’t smoke. The policy is about discouraging smoking in public outdoor areas where people, particularly children and young people, gather.”

Compliance with the policy will be voluntary and will not be enforced by Council staff. Rather, the policy aims to encourage smokers via signage and word of mouth to be responsible and not smoke in areas where children and young people gather.

The Council will roll out smokefree signage over the coming year, with the priority being signage at children’s playgrounds. The policy also aims to promote all Council-owned events as smokefree. This will assist in getting the message out to the community and encouraging healthy, non-smoking events.

“Smokefree public places will make our city an even better place to live,” said Mr Bywater.

The policy has been developed in partnership with Smokefree Canterbury, through which Community and Public Health (a division of the Canterbury District Health Board), the Cancer Society and Partnership Health Canterbury PHO have played major roles.

Canterbury District Health Board Smokefree Manager Vivien Daley welcomed the move and said “it is really pleasing to see organisations across the city working together collaboratively and cooperatively to establish a policy which clearly promotes healthy smokefree lifestyles. It has been a long process, but well worth it, and we applaud the City Council for taking this stand.”

Similar smokefree policies in public outdoor settings have been adopted by more than 20 other councils in New Zealand, as well as other countries including Australia, the United Kingdom and the USA.


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