Lack of smokefree signs: study

A University of Otago study has found that no racecourses and fewer than half of all sports grounds in New Zealand have smokefree signs.

The study of 25 racecourses and 25 sports grounds has raised the authors' concerns that the large gatherings at sports-grounds and racecourses are normalising smoking.

Assoc Prof George Thomson says there needs to be a consistent communication of smokefree policies across the country.

This would be most effective if there was a national smokefree law for all public venues with outdoor seating, he said.

``The experience of smokefree school grounds, as well as of regulations in many overseas jurisdictions, show us that such a nationwide law could work well in New Zealand and could significantly help smokers to quit,'' he said.

Prof Thomson said no racecourse in New Zealand had any rules about smoking in the stadium, except for the occasional smokefree raceday.

``They could easily have notices at the very minimum - it would be a start,'' he said.

Trentham Racecourse was too busy to comment on its smokefree policies but said it was having a smokefree event today.

Ellerslie Racecourse racing and operations manager Craig Baker said the racecourse
followed the legislation about no smoking inside but had no rules further than that.

Asked if he would be in favour of a law to ban smoking in public venues with outdoor seating,
he said he would need to consult the report before deciding. 

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