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New Zealand was one of the first countries in the world to go smokefree in hospitality venues, making them healthier places to work. Bars, restaurants, cafes, casinos and clubs have been smokefree since the amendment to the Smoke-free Environments Act in 2004. Before 2004, you could go to a bar or restaurant and spend all night engulfed in tobacco smoke.
Outdoor places like parks, sports grounds and playgrounds all around New Zealand are going smokefree.
Even when smoking is kept outside people indoors are still exposed to smoke drifts from outdoor areas. Studies looking at outdoor dining areas have found that the smoke particulate levels can be three to nearly five times higher than recommended exposure levels (World Health Organisation).72, 73
As a member of your community, you can play a big part in introducing smokefree outdoor areas. Start by talking with local community groups, schools, church groups, and your council about what is already in place and what else needs to be done.
As a member of your community, you can play a big part in introducing smokefree outdoor areas.
Over 50 councils have introduced either smokefree playgrounds, parks, council events, or all three. This map shows where they are. Many councils also have their smokefree outdoors public areas policy on their website.
Smokefree clubrooms make a lot of sense. When you have been playing sport, the last thing you want is to come back to a place filled with tobacco smoke. If your clubroom serves alcohol or if people work there, it needs to be smokefree by law.
If your marae has employees or volunteers, a kura kaupapa or kōhanga reo, or has a liquor licence, it will need to be smokefree/auahi kore inside to comply with the Smoke-free Environments Act.
You can also encourage local retailers not to sell tobacco products, especially around schools – some are already tobacco free! See the Tobacco-free Retailer toolkit for more information.
Smokefree community areas provide positive role modelling for tamariki and youth.
But whether it’s legally required or not, there are many benefits to having a smokefree community area, including:
- positive role modelling behaviour for tamariki & youth
- a healthy whānau-friendly environment
- protecting non-smokers from the dangers of second-hand smoke
- catering for whānau who do not smoke
- a progressive healthy image in your community
- encouraging stopping smoking among whānau and the wider community
- reduced fire risk, which may lead to lower insurance premiums
- reduced cleaning and maintenance costs.
If you would like to talk to someone about making a local outdoor area smokefree, contact the smokefree officers at your district health board. They will probably already be working with your local council and can help you to get involved.
In your home
By having a smokefree home you are making a powerful statement that smoking is not for you or your family. By showing smoking isn’t a normal part of life, you will make it less likely your children or mokopuna will start to smoke.
Second-hand smoke has a mixture of chemicals, including acetone (paint stripper), ammonia (toilet cleaner), cyanide (rat killer), DDT (insecticide) and carbon monoxide (car exhaust fumes). Nobody wants their children breathing in these chemicals at home.
The gasses in tobacco smoke can be absorbed into carpets, curtains, furniture and clothing and remain there for days and weeks, this means people in the house keep breathing them in.
Keep cigarettes, lighters and reminders like ashtrays safely away from children.
Ask your family and whānau to support you by not smoking in the house.
Let other people know smoking is not allowed in your house – put Smokefree/Auahi Kore stickers on your windows.
In your car
Children often can’t get away from the smoke in your car. Opening or winding down the window will not remove all the poisons in second-hand smoke. The poisons will stay long after the smoke and smell have disappeared.
Ask your family and whānau to support you by not smoking in your car.
Remove ashtrays and lighters from your car.
Display Smokefree/Auahi Kore stickers to show you mean business!
95% of New Zealanders support a ban on smoking in cars carrying children.81 In February 2019 the New Zealand Government signalled they want to change the Smoke-free Environments Act so that smoking is prohibited in cars when children are present. In June 2019 the bill that would prohibit smoking in cars with children inside passed its first reading in Parliament. Follow the progress here.