High rates of smoking in outdoor transport waiting areas in
this country could be undermining moves to encourage people
to enjoy the health benefits of public transport, research
An international smoking survey, conducted through the
University of Otago's Wellington campus, notes that 11% of
people were observed smoking in New Zealand outdoor transport
waiting areas, compared with 7% in Britain.
A co-researcher, Dr Marie Russell, says the results show the
need for policies to protect people from the health risks of
second-hand smoke in New Zealand bus queues, transport
shelters and other outdoor transport waiting areas.
About 500 New Zealanders die each year from passive smoking.
Dr Russell said that in Australia, California, Japan and
other places, local authorities had increasingly adopted
''smokefree streets'' and in some regions and countries there
wassimilar protection from smoking for people waiting for
The Otago University study drew on observations of nearly
5000 adolescents and adults at 91 sites across England,
Scotland and New Zealand, and has been published in the
international journal Health & Place.
Dr Russell said some of her earlier PhD research on public
transport unearthed concerns by many New Zealanders about
being exposed to cigarette smoke while queuing at bus stops.
Dr Russell said regional councils and other authorities
operating public transport systems should be thinking about
the way in which smoking in bus queues and shelters, and the
resulting grime and cigarette butts, were discouraging some
people from using public transport.
Researchers have previously pointed to the increased walking
many users of public transport undertake, compared with
driving a car. Using buses and trains, instead of driving
cars, also reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
The Otago University study also found New Zealand playgrounds
and streets had less smoking than in Britain.