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Smoking Only in Designated Areas for Touch Comp

Media Statement

Wednesday 25 October 2006

Smoking Only in Designated Areas for Touch Rugby Competition

For the first time in its 17-year history, designated areas will be the only places people can smoke if watching or playing in the Galaxy High School Old Boys Touch Rugby Module this summer.

The touch rugby module has taken a step to going completely smokefree with the support of Tairawhiti District Health, says Module Coordinator Maria Baty.

“We believe that people deserve to have a smokefree environment when they are involved with touch rugby whether it be playing, refereeing or watching. We are especially keen to keep our mokopuna and rangitahi free from the effects of second-hand smoke.”

The High School Old Boys Touch Module began in 1989 and this year 28 teams will take part. Games are at The Oval between Stanley Rd and Anzac St. Miss Baty said over 400 people will be at the weekly fixtures starting this Friday October 27.

She says anybody choosing to smoke during the Friday night games will be encouraged to use the clubroom balcony, or move to the far end of the main playing field to areas designated for smokers.

Miss Baty said it wasn’t the person that organisers had a problem with, it was the smoke and the image of smoking. “We aren’t saying don’t smoke, we are simply asking that they don’t smoke around other people.”

Smokefree messages will be promoted heavily at the weekly fixtures with signage and spot prizes. All referees will wear smokefree sponsored merchandise. Regular announcements over the public address system will remind people about the designated smoking areas, and there will be smoking cessation support some evenings.

Tairawhiti District Health’s Population Health Portfolio Manager and member of regional smokefree group Taki Tahi Toa Mano, Pania Ruakere, is thrilled the organisers have decided to play their part in promoting a smokefree Tairawhiti.

“Creating more smokefree environments in our district will reduce the risks family and whanau are exposed to when someone near them smokes. Anyone choosing to smoke should ask themselves ‘is this the behaviour I want to role model for others around me?’ then make the sensible decision to move into one of the two designated areas to protect their family and friends.”

“We hope this is another way helping people quit. If just one person chooses to quit or stay smokefree, it will be all worthwhile. But of course we are hoping for a much bigger response.”


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