Smokefree community spaces create smokefree kids

Smokefree 2025.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 Playgrounds.Community 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 policy was amended in November 2020 to make these designated areas vapefree too.

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 [1.39MB PDF].

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.

Voluntary Smokefree and Vapefree Initiative supported in Hanmer Springs

A vaping device. Source: Christchurch City Council website.The Hurunui District Council decided in November 2019 to continue supporting the voluntary Hanmer Springs Smokefree and Vapefree Initiative, with implementation in the hands of the Hanmer Springs Community Board.

The initiative was based on the Hanmer Springs village already asking that people do not smoke in parks, playgrounds and reserves as part of the district’s Smokefree Outdoors Strategy. The trial extended on this and encouraged people to keep key public spaces such as the main street, Amuri Avenue and Conical Hill Road both smokefree and vapefree on a voluntary basis.

The evaluation of the trial showed majority support for the initiative from residents, visitors and businesses in Hanmer Springs – and a unanimous recommendation from the Hanmer Springs Community Board to make the initiative permanent.

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

Health promoters from Community and Public Health in Timaru are working with the three councils in the area, along with the local Cancer Society.

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. Geraldine is taking part in the “Fresh Air” project where cafes promote being smokefree and vape-free.

The Mackenzie District Council has a policy covering playgrounds and sports grounds. Mackenzie participated in the Fresh Air Project as the pilot region in the South Canterbury District in 2019. The Council, cafes and customers all reported positive feedback from the pilot and the cafes that participated are all staying smokefree and vape-free. Fifteen venues in Geraldine become Fresh Air destinations in November 2020.

Smokefree Community Spaces on the West Coast

Smokefree at Wildfoods Event in Hokitika 2019.The Buller, Grey and Westland District Councils all adopted a Smokefree Outdoor Areas Policy between August and December 2011.

Grey District Council extended their Outdoor Dining Policy in 2019 to include the requirement that outdoor dining areas on council controlled land are smokefree and vapefree and signage is to be displayed to inform the public.

Westland District Council extended their policy in 2021 so that all council building and public spaces are smokefree and vapefree.

Work continues to raise awareness of the Smokefree areas and to extend Smokefree outdoor dining across the West Coast.

The West Coast Tobacco Free Coalition (WCFTC) secured some funding to promote the 2021 law change making it illegal to smoke or vape in vehicles with children present – whether the vehicle is moving or not.


Contact your local office for further information:

Ph: +64 3 364 1777

Ph: +64 3 687 2600

Ph: +64 3 768 1160

Let everyone know your place is smokefree

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 requires all internal areas of workplaces, licensed premises and certain public enclosed premises to be Smokefree.

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020 came into force in November 2020. It requires vaping to be prohibited in settings where smoking is not permitted.

Signage is used to communicate expectations and help people to know they are in a smokefree and vapefree area.

Vapefree smokefree signage (SMF0028).

Signage for playgrounds and sports grounds

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).

Example of smokefree playgrounds poster - Hey big people we copy what we see. Kids run better on clean air.

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.

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 more than 80 venues in Canterbury are now part of the Fresh Air Project.

The programme has since spread to Nelson, Whangarei, Auckland, Otago, Southland, Wairarapa and South Canterbury.

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

Page last updated: 12/07/2024

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