Smoke-free Otago is seeking formal support from the council
for a ''smoke-free Dunedin'' policy.
Dunedin city councillors will discuss on Monday whether to
adopt the education-oriented policy. The council has to date
shown its support for the goal of a smoke-free Dunedin in an
ad hoc manner, by supporting signage in playgrounds, at bus
shelters and at some of its events, but does not formally
support it or have any official pledge to consider it across
all its operations.
Council corporate policy team leader Maria Ioannou said this
was the first time a formal policy had been brought to the
council for consideration.
A draft policy, to be considered, states the council's
support for a smoke-free city and outlines some measures it
could voluntarily take aimed at changing social perceptions
of smoking and supporting cessation.
These would be promoting the smoke-free message on signs or
other communication in public places or at council-run or
sponsored events; negotiating smoke-free environments with
lessees and council-owned organisations and promoting the
messages to council staff.
The council would not be able to enforce the measures, so as
to avoid penalising smokers.
By stating the council's general support for the smoke-free
goal and outlining parameters for that support,
implementation decisions would be left to staff, with the
policy allowing them to implement measures within existing
Public place signs, for example, could be updated with the
message, where appropriate, when they were renewed. Smokefree
Otago, a coalition of Public Health South, the Cancer
Society, Heart Foundation, Asthma Society, Kai Tahi Ki Otago,
Otago Polytechnic, Plunket, Tu Mai Ora and University of
Otago, has asked the council to support a smoke-free city
policy for several years.
In 2009, the council considered, and decided not to progress,
a bylaw designating streets around Dunedin Hospital as
smoke-free, because of enforcement issues and questions of
suitability. Only one bylaw exists prohibiting smoking in a
street in New Zealand, in Cable Car Lane, Wellington.
Smoke-free outdoor environments have recently been
implemented at the University of Otago, Otago Polytechnic,
Mercy Hospital and Salvation Army.
The approach being proposed had been adopted by many other
local authorities in New Zealand, Ms Ioannou said.