Smokefree Community Spaces create smokefree kids

Smokefree Aotearoa NZ 2025 Logo.The Government has set a goal to make New Zealand Smokefree by 2025. One way to help achieve this goal is to make more community spaces smokefree.

Encouraging smokefree parks, playgrounds and sports grounds can help stop children starting to smoke. The average age for starting to smoke is around 14 years and for tamariki Maori it is around 11 years old.

Children copy what they see – that’s why smokefree family and whānau role models are one of the best ways to prevent children and young people from smoking. If adults don’t smoke around children it is less likely that children will start smoking themselves. Remember our children are the next generation of non smokers.

All 12 Councils in the Canterbury West Coast region now have policies for smokefree outdoor areas in their parks, playgrounds and sports grounds.

Smokefree Community Spaces in Christchurch and Canterbury

Smokefree PlaygroundsCommunity and Public Health worked with the Christchurch City Council in 2009 to adopt and implement a plan to make all Christchurch parks, playgrounds, sports grounds and Council events smokefree. This was extended in 2015 to make bus passenger shelters and the entrances and exits to Council-owned buildings smokefree.

The Selwyn District Council chose to adopt a policy to make Selwyn’s playgrounds, parks, sports grounds and Council run or sponsored events smoke-free in December 2011. The Hurunui District Council made all their parks and playgrounds smokefree in 2012.

Smokefree Canterbury’s 2014 community survey showed public support for the current Smokefree policy for parks, playgrounds and sports grounds and also other open public places in Christchurch.

A 2015 survey of Christchurch hospitality businesses showed support for smokefree outdoor dining. This lead to the development of the Fresh Air Project – in partnership with the Cancer Society Canterbury/West Coast division and the Christchurch City Council.

The Fresh Air Project: A taste of smokefree outdoor dining.The Fresh Air Project: A taste of smokefree outdoor dining

20 cafés and restaurants voluntarily decided to introduce smokefree outdoor dining as part of a 6-month pilot programme called the Fresh Air Project – from November 2016 to April 2017.

This pilot was incredibly successful and currently 60 venues in Canterbury are now part of the Fresh Air Project. The programme has spread to Nelson, Whangarei and Auckland. Otago and Southland are piloting the programme from 1st November 2018.

Smokefree Parks and Playgrounds in the Ashburton District

Two young students from Hampstead School proactively asked the Ashburton District Council to make the playground in Friedlander Park smokefree in 2006.

The Council declared the Friedlander Park playground Smokefree on World Smokefree Day in 2007, and the Council declared all playgrounds throughout the district to be smokefree in late 2007.

The Ashburton District Council’s Smokefree Policy was extended to cover Council-owned sports grounds and the skatepark in 2010 and 2011, due to strong support from the community. All Council-run events and Council-owned buildings were also made smokefree, including the EA Networks Centre.

The Ashburton District Council passed further smokefree policies in 2017 for outdoor dining and older people’s housing.

Smokefree Community Spaces in South Canterbury

Waimate children celebrating having a Smokefree playground.Health promoters from Community and Public Health in Timaru are working with the three councils in the area, as part of Smokefree South Canterbury.

The Waimate District Council made positive steps towards the Smokefree 2025 goal with the adoption of a comprehensive Smoke-free Environments Policy in 2015. The policy includes provision for walkways and cycle tracks as well as playgrounds, sports grounds, council run events, entrances to council buildings and other council owned buildings such as rural halls, community housing, public toilets and the events centre.

The Timaru District Council designated their playgrounds smokefree in 2011 and sports grounds in 2012. The Council formally endorsed the Smokefree 2025 goal in 2017 and require all events to be smokefree if run, funded or supported by the Council. They have also extended their current Smokefree Public Outdoor Areas policy to include all of Caroline Bay, bus shelters, social housing and outdoor dining areas at Council-owned facilities or road reserve.

The Mackenzie District Council has a policy covering playgrounds and sports grounds. Work continues to extend their current policy.

Smokefree Playgrounds for the West Coast

Dixon Park in Greymouth is now Smokefree.The Buller, Grey and Westland District Councils all adopted a Smokefree Outdoor Areas Policy between August and December 2011.  This result follows more than three years of effort by Community and Public Health as part of the West Coast Tobacco Free Coalition (WCTFC).

The current focuses are putting up signs across the region to create awareness of the smokefree areas, and continuing to engage with the community and promote the smokefree message.


Contact your local CPH office for further information:

Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Fax: +64 3 379 6125

Ph: +64 3 687 2600
Fax: +64 3 688 6091

Ph: +64 3 768 1160
Fax: +64 3 768 1169

Signage for playgrounds and sports grounds

Smokefree Playgrounds - Kids run better on clean air.Staff at Community and Public Health developed the Smokefree signs that the Waimate District Council use in their playgrounds and sports grounds. These signs are now also used in other parts of New Zealand.

Community and Public Health and the Smokefree South Canterbury Committee are happy for others to use them too.

If you are interested in using these signs, please read the Terms of Agreement document below.  Contact the South Canterbury office for more details (03 687 2600).

Smokefree Rugby League in Rolleston

The Rolleston Warriors Rugby League Club has introduced a smokefree and water-only policy for their grounds – with help from Community and Public Health. Their grounds are now proudly smokefree.

Page last updated: 22/07/2019

Copyright © 2019, Community & Public Health,