Article | Local and regional smokefree and tobacco-free action in New Zealand: highlights and directions
Local outdoor smokefree action is rapidly growing around New Zealand. In this study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, ASPIRE2025 researchers identified local smokefree progress around the country in outdoor smokefree dining, large outdoor work sites and ski-fields, and parts of downtown areas such as squares and streets.
In this Viewpoint we highlight and discuss some recent local and regional level advances in tobacco control in Aotearoa/New Zealand. In this country a wide range of local actors are helping drive smokefree and tobacco-free policies, with an increasing presence of businesses in this field. There has been progress in the areas of smokefree dining, large outdoor worksites and ski fields, and parts of downtown areas such as squares and streets. In 2015 and 2016, three councils (Palmerston North, Napier and Hastings) have used pavement lease policies and bylaws to start introducing an element of requirement into smokefree outdoor dining. Elsewhere (eg, Rotorua, Ashburton, Westland and Christchurch) significant smokefree outdoor dining moves have been made by, or in conjunction with, local councils. Tobacco-free retailing continues to expand, particularly in Northland.
In the absence of meaningful central government action on smokefree places in the last decade (despite the smokefree 2025 goal) local activity is leading the way. It is particularly important in providing models for smokefree outdoor hospitality areas, where smoking normalisation and relapse are significant health risks. Nevertheless, there is a need for the local smokefree and tobacco-free activity to be nationally evaluated, particularly for assessing the prevalence of smoking in areas covered by ‘smokefree’ policies. Action by central government could help local actors by providing a more definite legislative basis for bylaws, by minimum outdoor smokefree laws and by the funding of effective tobacco control mass media.
Thomson, G., Wilson, N. (2017) Local and regional smokefree and tobacco-free action in New Zealand: highlights and directions. N Z Med J 2017 Volume 130 Number 1462
The full article is available in New Zealand Medical Journal (password access required until March 2018)
For more information or to request a copy of the article (along with additional photographs of outdoor smokefree settings around NZ) please contact:
University of Otago, Wellington