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Auckland businesses targeted in smoke-free operation

Public health officials will be working with licensed clubs, theatres and hospitality venues over Auckland in the upcoming months to ensure compliance with the Smoke-free Environments Act.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) Health Improvement Manager, Dean Adam says a simple and cheap way of complying with the Act is for the venue to become smoke-free. "I question why owners give up the best seats to smokers. On a sunny day, smokers get the best outdoor spots," he says.

"Aucklanders who are tired of being served up smoke in their favourite local establishments could chat to owners about the venue becoming smoke-free. Being smoke-free is catching on within hospitality and Auckland research shows this is something the public supports. Most Kiwis don’t smoke - so why are venues set up to accommodate a minority group? It creates an environment that normalises addiction," says Mr Adam.

"Manurewa is the next suburb we are targeting because it has one of the highest rates of smoking in Auckland. We are doing our bit to reduce second-hand smoking to improve peoples’ health," says Mr Adam.

According to census data, 21 percent of all adults aged 15 years and above living in Manurewa are regular smokers.

Those who breach the Act by refusing to comply could face prosecution by the Ministry of Health and fines of up to $4000. An Auckland bar owner pleaded guilty at the District Court in November 2016 for allowing smoking in an area classified as internal. If a member of the public notices a smoking breach they can make a complaint by phoning (09) 623 4600.

The Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 was established to protect people from inhaling second-hand smoke which can have serious health consequences.

Facts about second-hand smoking

• ‘The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.’ ‘Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer.’ (US Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta GA: Office on Smoking and Health; 2006)

• Particulate levels (one marker of secondhand smoke) indoors in bars and restaurants can be nearly high as outside, where there is smoking. (Van der Deen et al. N Z Med J. 2014;127(1396):43-52 Edwards R, Wilson N. N Z Med J 2011;124:27-37)

• Significant tobacco smoke effects occur at over 10m from groups of smokers, and at least 9m from a burning cigarette in light winds. ( Yamato et al. Kobe J Med Sci 2013;59:E93-105. Hwang J, Lee K. Nicotine Tob Res 2014;16:478)

To find out more about the Ministry of Health Guidelines for smoke free areas click here.

ENDS

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