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Public Health Supports Local Government Remit

Public Health Supports Local Government Remit


Toi Te Ora - Public Health Service (Toi Te Ora) supports the recent Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) decision to advocate for legislation to prohibit smoking in the outdoor areas of bars, cafes and restaurants.

Outdoor dining areas have the some of the highest levels of second-hand smoke of all public spaces. In close proximity to smokers, second-hand smoke intake by non-smokers is similar to what was experienced prior to indoor smoking bans.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr Phil Shoemack says that the extension of smokefree spaces to include outdoor dining areas will help achieve the Government’s goal of a smokefree Aotearoa by 2025. “Having the extension of existing smokefree spaces legislation on the national agenda is extremely positive. It is a significant step as we look to improve the overall health of our community by achieving the Smokefree 2025 goal”.

“It is exciting that this LGNZ remit was supported by several of our local councils including. Toi Te Ora encourages all councils to extend their smokefree policies to include outdoor dining areas, regardless of the outcome at the national level,” says Dr Shoemack.

Smokefree outdoor dining protects patrons and staff from the harms of second-hand smoke. “A smokefree outdoor dining policy supports health and safety requirements to ensure the provision of safe environments. Extending smokefree environments to include outdoor dining areas also helps to further denormalise smoking. This means that people of any age will be less likely to start smoking, those who are trying to quit will feel supported in their efforts, and ex-smokers will be less likely to start lighting up again,” says Dr Shoemack.

“Smoking kills up to half of its users,” adds Dr Shoemack. “It’s important to remember that smokefree outdoor policies are designed to provide a pleasant smokefree environment for everyone. Every person should have the right to breathe smokefree air.”

There is high level of public support for smokefree outdoor dining. A recent survey confirmed that nine out of ten of Aucklanders would be more likely, or just as likely, to visit outdoor dining areas if they were smokefree. Of particular interest in the same survey eight out of ten smokers said they would continue to visit smokefree dining areas.

Dr Shoemack explains, “Similar legislation introduced in Australia shows that public support for smokefree dining increases even further after the changes have been introduced and they often have a positive impact on business profits. It’s also encouraging that some local restaurants have already made the decision to introduce smokefree outdoor dining. Their commitment to providing the best environment for their customers is commended and we encourage others to do the same”.

For more information on smokefree outdoor spaces visit http://www.ttophs.govt.nz/smokefree_outdoor_spaces.

ENDS

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