Opotiki extends smokefree outdoor policy
To mark World Smokefree Day on May 31, Toi Te Ora Public Health has celebrated local councils who have gone the extra mile to support their community, and the nation, to achieve Smokefree Aotearoa 2025.
Opotiki District Council is the latest council in the Bay of Plenty to extend their smokefree outdoor spaces policy.
The extensive policy now includes the central business district, civic areas and beaches as smokefree areas. The policy is based on a non-regulatory approach that aims to create behaviour change by promoting a positive smokefree message.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr Jim Miller, commends the Council’s leadership in making more public places smokefree. “Smokefree outdoor public spaces help create healthy supportive environments by normalising smokefree, supporting people trying to quit smoking, and reducing exposure to second hand smoke.”
The Eastern Bay of Plenty Smokefree Coalition and Toi Te Ora Public Health supported extending smokefree outdoors spaces through submissions to Council’s 2018-28 long term plan. A collaborative approach was taken by Council to engage the local community and listen to their views. This involved a series of public engagement workshops, and collating community voice via social media, as well as online and written submissions.
According to Mayor of Opotiki, John Forbes, the feedback showed strong support for a smokefree Opotiki.
“We spoke to our community about the proposal to extend Smokefree areas from just Council-owned areas - playgrounds and so on - to the whole CBD and beaches,” says John. “The feedback we got was overwhelmingly in support of extending the smokefree areas. Many mentioned how important it was for their children and grandchildren not to be around smoke in their everyday lives. Many others mentioned the issue of endless cigarette butts in the streets.
“The policy also sends a strong message backing up our clean, green image to future visitors to the district.”
Rotorua Lakes Council, Kawerau District Council, Whakatāne District Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Tauranga City Council also have smokefree outdoor spaces policies.
For more information about smokefree outdoor spaces policies head to www.toiteora.govt.nz/smokefree_outdoor_spaces.