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Smokefree Public Outdoor Areas Policy

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Purpose

To encourage the community to refrain from smoking in public outdoor areas, specifically in playgrounds, parks and sports grounds, and at Council supported events.

Background

The Government has committed to a goal of New Zealand becoming Smokefree by 2025, giving a clear mandate for local authorities to work in partnership to support this vision. By focusing on public outdoor areas and supported events, Selwyn District Council will be proactive and demonstrate leadership by promoting a Smokefree environment as being both desirable and the norm in Selwyn.

Compliance with the policy would be voluntary and it would not be enforced by Council staff. The policy aims to provide a voluntary environment where people can choose to be responsible and not smoke around children and young people, rather than unduly infringe the ability of others to smoke in public outdoor areas should they wish to.

Smokefree outdoor area policies are based on the rationale of good role modelling to children and young people. Children and young people tend to copy what they see and emulate the actions around them. Where children and young people are exposed to smokefree environments, they are more likely to be non-smokers. Conversely, if they are exposed to parents, friends, siblings who smoke and to smoking environments, they are more likely to become smokers themselves. A Smokefree Public Outdoor Areas Policy aims to denormalise smoking in public environments, and therefore minimise the exposure that children and young people have to smoking.

Assets/activities covered by the policy

There are approximately 155 recreation reserves within the district, providing for a range of active or passive recreational activities. Most of these are managed by Community Reserve Committees, under delegated responsibility from Council. Of these reserves, there are 126 neighbourhood parks that are generally small, provide places for informal recreation and form part of a network of open space within urban areas. There are also 29 sporting domains. Rural townships in the Selwyn District typically include a Domain, providing facilities to enable people to participate in organised sport, traditionally Saturday sports such as netball, rugby, tennis and cricket, and other forms of active and passive recreation. In addition, 59 of these recreation reserves contain outdoor playgrounds, providing places for recreation and play for children. Reserves of other classification managed by Council include cemeteries, gravel reserves and forestry blocks.

The public will be asked to refrain from smoking in Council owned and/or managed playgrounds and parks, including sports grounds. Signage, as appropriate, will be displayed by certain playgrounds, parks and sports grounds and will be integrated into the signs replacement/renewal programme where timing permits. It is recognised that Smokefree information may not be appropriate in remote locations, where there is low usage and exposure of the area, or where there are other hazards which take priority over Smokefree signage in the area. Initially, where feasible, Selwyn parks will display the Smokefree symbol in the form of stickers adhered to the existing signage.

Council supported events will be consistently promoted as Smokefree through inclusion of Smokefree messages on material promoting the events, advertising at the events and via the Council’s online event calendar. Council will provide information on the policy as a matter of course to event organisers when they are planning to run an event at a Council owned and or/managed outdoor area.

Alignment with Council’s Community Outcomes

The policy will contribute to Selwyn District Council’s Community Outcomes:

  • A clean environment
  • A healthy community

Relevant legislation

The Local Government Act 2002 (LGA 2002) states that one of the purposes of councils is to promote the social, economic, environment and cultural well-being of communities, in the present and for the future. Section 11 of LGA 2002 provides that the role of councils is to give effect to their purpose, and perform the duties and exercise the rights conferred on them by, or under, LGA 2002. Section 23 of the Health Act 1956 also states that it is the duty of every council to improve, promote and protect public health within its district.

Policy details

Core Objective

The reduction of smoking uptake by children and young people.

This policy is an educational tool to discourage smoking in public outdoor areas where people, particularly children and young people, gather.

Information and Education

The Council will implement a robust communications plan to promote positive role modelling, which will be communicated over a long period of time (at least two years) to achieve a positive attitudinal and behaviour change by smokers.

Implementation

Key elements of the communications plan include signage, promotions on the Council website, in the Council’s weekly advertising in Council Call, pull-up banners, FAQs to key influencers (councillors, community boards, and township committees), radio and newspaper advertising, school newsletters, and direct marketing to sports groups/clubs.

The Council will work with Smokefree Canterbury members to ensure information relating to the new legislation and the health impacts of smoking and passive smoking are easily accessible to the community. Messages on signage and any communications will focus on the positive rather than the negative.

Enforcement

The policy is not a ban on smoking in a public place. No enforcement measures will be used against those who breach the policy. Introducing a policy where people can choose to comply is in the spirit of promoting healthy lifestyle choices.


Approval Date December 2011

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