Rotorua residents will have a greater chance of avoiding second-hand smoke following Rotorua Lakes Council’s commitment to increasing smokefree spaces in the district - a move that has been applauded by health officials.
Dr Phil Shoemack, Medical Officer of Health, Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service, has commended the Council’s leadership in making more public places smokefree and has formally congratulated councillors for their support and decision to adopt the smokefree policy. “This is a positive move for the health of Rotorua residents and visitors.”
Rotorua Lakes Council will implement the extended Smokefree Outdoor Spaces Policy in two phases over two years. Phase one will see no smoking implemented at all bus stops and shelters, at the i-Site and library surrounds (including Jean Batten Park), at Rotorua International Stadium, at all youth spaces, all council-controlled reserves and parks, and all council delivered events. Phase two, which will start in January 2018, will see outdoor paved eating places, Eat Streat, inner city markets, and entrances and exits of public buildings and facilities also become smokefree zones.
Dr Shoemack says, “Increasing the number of smokefree outdoor spaces helps reduce the visibility of smoking which makes it less likely that children and young people will start.” He adds, “Smokefree spaces also help support smokers who are trying to quit.”
Dr Shoemack says smokefree spaces also protect people from second hand smoke.
“Second hand smoke is unsafe at any level of exposure. People waiting at bus stops or attending an event at the lakefront do not want other people’s smoke wafting around them, which is why there is usually good public support for smokefree spaces.”
While smoking rates in the Lakes District have reduced, Dr Shoemack says Rotorua residents still have a way to go. “Although smoking rates have come down, around one in five residents aged over 15 years still smokes regularly - and this is above the national average”. “Smokefree spaces are an important step towards the Rotorua community, and all communities, becoming smokefree.”
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