Canterbury District Health Board has congratulated the Christchurch City Council for its move to increase the number of Smokefree places in Christchurch from October 1, 2015.
Dr Ramon Pink, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says making more outdoor areas Smokefree is an important step towards achieving the Smokefree 2025 goal.
"Increasing the number of Smokefree places helps reduce the visibility of smoking, and this in turn makes it less likely that young people will take up the habit," Dr Pink says.
He says people have a right to Smokefree spaces.
"People entering and exiting council facilities such as libraries and swimming pools should not have to walk through clouds of smoke.
"And people waiting for a bus should not have to put up with other peoples smoke. Smokefree bus stops will not only protect those who do not smoke from second hand smoke, but will also reduce the visibility of smoking for children and youth."
Dr Pink says measures to make more community spaces Smokefree are not about "banning" smoking or "demonising" smokers.
"These policies encourage responsible choices – they aren't a ban. They are voluntary policies that are all about encouraging responsible adult behaviour and not smoking around children and young people," says Dr Pink.
Dr Pink says smoking is a big issue in Canterbury. "The Canterbury DHB region has more regular smokers than any other DHB region. More than 52,000 Cantabrians, the equivalent of three sell-out crowds at AMI Stadium, are regular smokers."
Martin Witt, Canterbury and West Coast Cancer Society Manager of Health Promotion and IT Services, has also congratulated the Council on its bold move.
"Both sub committees voted unanimously for these extensions. This makes CCC one of the most progressive councils in NZ with a strong commitment to their role in helping to achieve the goal of a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025," Martin says.
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