19 Jan 2012

Health boards back Auckland smoking ban idea

10:03 pm on 19 January 2012

Some Auckland health boards are urging the region's council to introduce a city-wide smoking ban in all public outdoor spaces.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service has proposed a ban that would include the city centre, parks, playgrounds, sports grounds, stadiums, parts of beaches and council-controlled events.

It wants the move included in the Auckland Council's draft plan.

Waitemata District Health Board is one of those which supports the idea.

Chief executive Dale Bramley says the board's view - based on the best advice and clinical expertise available to it - is that the move could help the health status of Aucklanders.

Dr Bramley says second-hand smoking alone kills about 350 New Zealanders each year.

Auckland councillor George Wood is also backing the proposed ban.

"I do think that there is a large level of support out there for council to do something to stop this filthy habit that's happening around our town centres and in the Auckland CBD."

However, fellow councillor Cameron Brewer says more people would retreat inside, or light up in the family home or car, which he says arguably more damaging.

Hospitality New Zealand says such a ban would be bad for business and drive visitors away from Auckland's city centre.

It says bars and restaurants are already subject to regulations on outdoor smoking areas, and the proposed ban would be difficult to implement and police.