Tauranga could become a smokefree city as the city council looks at extending smokefree areas to include playgrounds, sports grounds, bus stops and carparks of council facilities.
The extension to the city’s smokefree areas is part of the council’s new Smokefree Places Policy that was discussed at Tuesday’s Strategy and Policy Committee meeting.
During the meeting councillors agreed to include the grounds of council facilities in the smokefree policy, along with playgrounds and sports grounds, but drew the line at including beaches and the city’s alfresco dining areas.
Policy Planner Cheryl Steiner sought councillors’ direction on reasons for developing the policy and where it would apply.
The policy came about after the Welcome Bay Community Centre approached the city council last year for support in identifying Welcome Bay as a smokefree community.
In response the council agreed to develop a policy to identify smokefree places across the city.
Arataki Sports Club at Arataki Park supports the proposal for its park to become smokefree.
The city council has also endorsed smokefree designation for the jointly administered TECT All Terrain Park and Haharua Park.
The Western BOP’s smokefree policy also applies to council owned enclosed public spaces, parks, playgrounds, reserves, skateparks, gardens, sports fields, and beaches. TCVL has adopted a smokefree policy for Baypark.
Murray Guy says protecting the health of non-smokers should be the reason for the policy and it should therefore be applied only to confined spaces, but not open spaces where smokers can move away from non-smokers.
“I would like the policy to take into account the congestion of people rather than every 100 metres on Papamoa beach, it’s about protecting people in a real meaningful way,” says Murray.
Councilors were determined that approving the policy would not bring about the introduction of the smoking police.
The policy however will not become a bylaw.
The policy reflects the right of everybody to breathe smoke free, councillors agreed.
“Make it so it’s not normal,” says ex-smoker, committee chairman David Stewart.
Policy planner Cheryl Steiner says 75 per cent of people are non-smokers, and it used to be a lot more.
The only disagreement was from Terry Molloy who said designated smoking areas are like designated peeing areas in swimming pools.