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28/05/2019 3:15pm

Smoking and vaping in some outdoor areas and at some public events in the Hauraki District could soon disappear into clear air, if proposed new rules come into play.

Keen to improve the health and well-being of its communities by reducing smoking and vaping in public, the council is proposing some new rules to discourage and de-normalise smoking and vaping behaviour.

A survey, undertaken by the Cancer Society on behalf of the council last year showed people in the Hauraki District were generally in support of creating smokefree outdoor spaces, particularly in areas where children and young people hang out, climb trees and skin their knees, so a draft policy was developed.

Vaping is included as well as smoking because of concerns that the marketing of vaping products could encourage non-smokers to begin vaping, particularly young people. Although the long term health effects of vaping are unclear, health professionals agree it is likely to be associated with some degree of harm. 

Hauraki District Mayor John Tregidga said the proposed policy will open for community feedback on 31 May to coincide with World Smokefree Day 2019.   

“We want to encourage adults to be positive role models for children and young people but we won’t take a heavy-handed approach to enforcing the rules if they do go through,” he said.

“At the end of the day if you want to smoke or vape it’s your choice, we’ll just be asking you to please avoid the smokefree and vapefree areas. This is about being considerate to non-smokers and doing the right thing.”

“We’ll be relying on everyone to respect the rules we make together, and to encourage others to respect them too,” he said.

Charlie Poihipi, health promotion coordinator for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Cancer Society, says the council’s proposal to create smokefree outdoor zones and events is a really positive step.

“Smokefree outdoor spaces are good for the health of everyone in our community, but especially for our rangatahi.  Children copy what they see. If adults don’t smoke around our young people, it is less likely they’ll start smoking themselves,” he said.

The council is asking for feedback on the proposed smokefree and vapefree areas from 31 May to 28 June. Find out more and view the full proposal, which will be available from May 31 at https://weneedtotalk.hauraki-dc.govt.nz

Or call into one of the council service centres in Paeroa, Waihi or Ngatea.