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No BUTTs about it: WDC Smokefree Parks a success

No BUTTs about it: WDC Smokefree Parks a success

Whangarei residents are either smoking less or taking their cigarettes in private. A recent survey of Whangarei playgrounds suggests six months after Whangarei District Council (WDC) neighbourhood parks went Smokefree there has been a 93% drop in the number of cigarette butts collected from playgrounds.

Smokefree signs are up in all Whangarei play and sports grounds to remind people not to smoke in these areas as part of WDC Smokefree policy that was introduced on September 2010, followed by neighbourhood parks in September 2011.

Northland DHB, Smokefree Coordinator Bridget Rowse counted 17 cigarette butts in six playgrounds, Hikurangi Town Centre, Kamo Sportsgrounds, Kensington Park, Town Basin, Sherwood Park, Onerahi and Tarewa Park in November 2012 compared with 230 butts counted in April 2012.

The collection aimed to measure the success of the initiative, “the number of cigarette butts collected is down by a huge amount, it’s great news’, says Mrs Rowse.

71% of people surveyed new about the Smokefree policy.

“It shows that Whangarei residents care about the future of our young people and want to provide a clean healthy place for them to play,” says Jim Callaghan, Health Promoter Cancer Society Northland. “We adopted an educative approach rather than a legal ban to deter people from smoking in our

playgrounds in front of our children,” says Paul McDonald, WDC Manager Parks & Recreation.

WDC Smokefree policy for playgrounds, sports grounds and neighbourhood parks aims to normalise non-smoking and encourage positive role models for children and young people in the district. In the past four years all three Northland Councils have voted in a Smokefree Policy for playgrounds, sports grounds and parks.

To get help to stop smoking, talk to your local health provider, Aukati Kai Paipa quit coach www.aukatikaipaipa.co.nz or call Quitline on 0800 778 778.

ENDS

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