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Support for smokefree policy development

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Auckland Council's Parks, Recreation and Heritage Forum has recommended the council develop a non-regulatory smokefree policy across the region.

"Many of our parks, playgrounds and sports fields have already become smoke free without any hassle," says Forum Chair Councillor Sandra Coney.

"There is widespread public support for smokefree outdoor environments, particularly those used by children and families. It's good for children to grow up not seeing smoking as the norm."

Last month Waitemata and Puketapapa local boards unveiled new smokefree signs in their local sports parks and playgrounds.

Regional parks have been smokefree since 2010 and the former Waitakere and Manukau City Councils adopted smokefree policies in their local parks before the Auckland Council was formed. Auckland Zoo, Mt Smart and Eden Park stadiums are other examples of smokefree public places.

"A policy approach encourages Aucklanders to be smoke free through education and awareness, rather than a bylaw." says Cr Coney.

"Many local bodies are adopting this approach. In fact, it is snowballing through the country. This avoids a heavy-handed approach, but it empowers people using parks and public places to ask smokers not to light up. With other quit programmes there is a real chance to reduce the health burden caused by tobacco."

The forum's recommendation to the council's Regional Development and Operations Committee is that the development of a non-regulatory smokefree policy be endorsed.

A timeline for policy development and implementation would be established following the outcome of the Regional Development and Operations Committee and will involve Local Boards.

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