Our playgrounds are smoke-free - but not everyone is getting
The Dunedin City Council adopted a voluntary smoke-free
playgrounds policy 18 months ago but some smokers continue to
defy the ban.
During a brief visit to Marlow Park in St Kilda this week,
members of Smokefree Otago found 18 discarded cigarette butts
and an empty cigarette packet lying among the play equipment.
''I'm surprised and disappointed to find these here,''
Smokefree Otago chairwoman Penelope Scott said.
Mrs Scott said part of the problem might be a lack of
Children were influenced by what they saw adults doing,
highlighting the importance of having smoke-free spaces for
children, she said.
''Our primary aim should be to protect children - we want
smoke-free environments to be the norm,'' Mrs Scott said.
Southern Primary Health Organisation health promotion and
projects co-ordinator Katie Jahnke said parents and whanau
could make positive changes to the environment children grew
up in, even if they smoked.
''By actively choosing not to smoke in front of children it
makes a powerful statement that you believe smoking is
undesirable,'' Ms Jahnke said.
The Government had a goal of New Zealand having less than 5%
of the population smoking by 2025.
Smokefree Otago, which included representatives of a range of
Dunedin health, education and community organisations, had
done ''butt counts'' at several large playgrounds since the
policy was introduced 18 months ago, with mixed results.
The number of cigarette butts at Marlow Park fluctuated from
22 in November, 2012, to 14 in February, 2013, to 29 in
Numbers were much higher at Mosgiel Memorial Gardens, with
403 butts counted in November, 2012, 297 in February, 2013,
and 355 in November, 2013.
As part of the smoke-free playgrounds policy, the Dunedin
City Council had committed to installing smoke-free signs
around the city's playgrounds - A3 size signs for
''destination'' playgrounds and smaller signs for community
Council corporate policy team leader Maria Ioannou said the
larger signs would be placed during the next year, as part of
maintenance work at playgrounds.
Last month, the council committed to a smoke-free policy for
Dunedin, opting to implement a range of measures ''as
existing budgets allow''.
These include installing smoke-free signs on council-owned
buildings and sportsgrounds, as well as requiring tenants in
DCC housing to not smoke inside.
Next Wednesday, ahead of World Smokefree Day (May 31), Otago
Polytechnic and the University of Otago will be presented
with Smokefree Awards for creating smoke-free campuses.