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Council adopts Smokefree outdoor policy

Media Release
15 December 2011

Council adopts Smokefree outdoor policy

An effort to avoid children and young people seeing smokers as role-models has led the Selwyn District Council to adopt a Smokefree Public Outdoor Areas Policy.

The policy to make Selwyn’s playgrounds, parks, sports grounds and Council run or sponsored events smoke-free was adopted by the Selwyn District Council at yesterday’s meeting.

Following a similar policy implemented by the Christchurch City Council in 2009, the Selwyn District Council has developed the stance with the assistance of Smokefree Canterbury.

Strategic Policy Analyst Rachel Pugh told the Council in her report that a public survey in Rolleston answered by 163 respondents showed the majority thought public areas should be smoke-free; playgrounds (96%), parks (80%), sports grounds (92%), Council events (88%), outdoor dining (83%), township streets (51%) and all public places (58%).

“Children and young people tend to imitate what they see and are influenced by the normality and extent of smoking around them… The denormalisation of smoking (showing smoking is not an accepted norm) in our community is a key motivator for creating the policy,” the report says.

The new policy is not a ban and will not be enforced, but encourages smokers not to light up in playgrounds, parks, sports grounds and at Council events.

The new policy will now be implemented, with smoke-free symbols on signage, advertising and other promotions over the next two years. Smokefree Canterbury and the Partnership Health PHO are supporting the initiative with funding of $15,000.

Smokefree Canterbury Youth Ambassadors attended the Council meeting to share their views on the importance of the policy.

Smokefree Canterbury Chair Cheryl Ford congratulated the Council on its initiative.

“This will be great news for the Canterbury District Health Board and Cancer Society who are our lead partners in Smokefree Canterbury.
“The Selwyn District Council’s adoption of this policy on Wednesday sends a strong signal of support for Smokefree New Zealand 2025, a goal which has now been endorsed by the Government. Tobacco use is a major public health issue, killing 5000 New Zealanders every year. Although smoking rates are falling, we still have 20% of adults smoking (rates among Maori are more than 40%),” Ms Ford says.


ENDS

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