29 Oct 2009

Ban on smoking outdoors in western Bay of Plenty

8:06 pm on 29 October 2009

Western Bay of Plenty District Council is declaring a ban on smoking outdoors.

The ban covers 30 beaches - including the popular holiday spots of Waihi Beach, Maketu and Athenree - and the towns of Katikati and Te Puke.

It is the 23rd local authority to bring in an outdoor smoking ban but only one of three to cover beaches.

Signs will be put up informing smokers to stub out on playgrounds, sports fields, parks, reserves and land around public halls.

Mayor Ross Paterson says beaches will be policed by peer pressure from other beach goers, rather than council officers.

Mr Paterson says the ban is not a bylaw but a policy and is more an educational tool, backed up by signs.

Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia says she takes her hat off to the council for making public spaces safer and healthier for children and families, but she foresees issues with policing the ban.

The Cancer Society says any move to make smoking unacceptable is a move in the right direction.

Dr Jan Pearson says any ban on smoking just helps make the smokefree message normal.

She says the society is working with other local authorities in an effort to encourage them to bring in outdoor smoking bans.