23 May 2013

Smoking ban urged for central Wellington streets

9:54 am on 23 May 2013

Wellington City Council is being urged to ban smoking on the main streets of the central city.

Otago University's department of public health on Wednesday made a submission to the council proposing an expansion of the smokefree ban that applies at present to playgrounds and sportsfields.

The department's head, Richard Edwards, says the ban would encompass Lambton Quay, Willis Street and Courtenay Place, as well as beaches.

Professor Edwards says the council should be thinking about its role in making Wellington a city that promotes and protects the health of its inhabitants.

He says it is important to make smoking less visible so children aren't exposed to it.

The owner of Hummingbird restaurant on Courtenay Place says the proposal to ban special areas that many restaurants and cafes have set up for smoking patrons would ruin the Wellington vibe.

John Coleman says the biggest public health hazard at the moment is diesel buses emitting hazardous fumes, and the council should be looking at that.