Smokers say yes to Smokefree bylaws, but no to e-cig bans
Smokers say yes to Smokefree bylaws, but no to e-cig bans.
It takes a brave City Council to take Smokefree outdoor areas to where no other New Zealand council has been before.
Zoe Hawke Manager of Te Ara Hā Ora the National Māori Tobacco control service states that "Smokefree outdoor policies are an international trend and a powerful tool to denormalise smoking, help smokers quit and to remain quit. If you listen to communities they are often supportive of the move too".
The Wellington Council has just announced that they will be widening the city's no smoking stance to include most Public spaces, and have agreed to explore the idea of a bylaw that would mean fines or prosecution if Smokefree rules are not followed.
But not all community members agree with the Wellington Councils decision to include e-cigs in the ban. According to Zanette Ward who struggled with a 30 year smoking addiction "Smokefree areas are great, and bylaws to secure these settings even better. I just want e-cigs left out of bylaws. E-cigs were key to my quitting tobacco journey, to not be able to use my quit smoking tool in a public place seems counterproductive. Smokefree bylaws are supposed to support people to quit, not make it harder".
The Auckland Council has also begun a bylaw review for Smokefree areas due to strong community support, including smokers themselves. Research undertaken by the Cancer Society Auckland shows that 87% of Aucklanders want smokefree public places to be introduced by 2018, and 57% of Aucklanders want smokefree enforced through bylaws.
The question is who will be the bravest council of them all by being the first to implement Smokefree bylaws and lead New Zealand to a place where many other countries have already progressed, and what council will be the most forward thinking in regards to listening to community members about what should not be included in bylaw legislation?
Lance Norman the CEO of Hapai Te Hauora Tapui Māori public health suggests that "we should stop and listen to what our current smokers are saying if we really want to get to a Smokefree 2025. They have solutions".