Auckland parks go smokefree

Sportsfields and playgrounds across central Auckland will officially be smokefree from today to coincide with World Smokefree Day.

The Waitemata and Puketapapa local boards unveiled new signs today in an effort to stub out smoking in public areas - something that is already happening in Waitakere, Otara and Botany.

"[Sportsfields and playgrounds] have been smokefree but there haven't been signs so people wouldn't necessarily know," said Waitemata local board member Jesse Chalmers.

Although there's no smokefree bylaws to enforce, Chalmers said she hoped the signs would help.

"The message is about changing the culture, getting community support and making people empowered enough to ask others to stop smoking around children."

Chalmers said children had a right to be in public spaces without being exposed to second-hand smoke.

John Loof, chief executive of the Cancer Society Auckland, said the initiative was a "positive step toward a future with less cancer".

"Smokefree is about looking after our whanau and protecting our future generations. When children use parks they should be learning how to play sports and have fun, not learning how to smoke," he said.

"By removing smoking from the areas where children play, we will no longer normalise smoking behaviour."

Last July, a proposal by councillor George Wood, chairman of the community safety forum, to ban smoking in the city centre and at public transport stops failed to gain majority support.

Puketapapa local board - which includes Hillsborough, Three Kings and surrounding areas - launched its smokefree playgrounds with an event at Keith Hay Park in Mt Roskill this morning.

Auckland Now