Still smoking in parks despite ban

NO BUTTS: Kaipara Community Health Trust chief executive Debbie Evans says there is no excuse for smoking in parks, playgrounds and sports grounds now they are all officially smokefree.
NO BUTTS: Kaipara Community Health Trust chief executive Debbie Evans says there is no excuse for smoking in parks, playgrounds and sports grounds now they are all officially smokefree.

People are still smoking around children nearly one year after Kaipara parks and sports grounds went smokefree.

Kaipara District Council adopted smokefree playgrounds in 2008 covering all 12 council-administered playgrounds.

It extended its smokefree policy to cover council-owned parks, including sport fields and swimming pools from September 2012.

Kaipara Community Health Trust chief executive Debbie Evans says the purpose was to provide smokefree role models for children and show them smoking is not a "normal" part of life.

To evaluate the policy park-user surveys and cigarette butt collection and counts were done to measure public opinion and smoking behaviour.

Only 75 per cent of people surveyed knew about Kaipara's smokefree playgrounds and agreed that children's playgrounds should be smokefree. The other 25 per cent were smokers.

"It shows that we have the support for smokefree parks, playgrounds and sports grounds and that Kaipara residents care about the future of our children and young people.

"They want to provide a clean, healthy place for them to play," Ms Evans says.

There was a 15 per cent increase in the number of cigarette butts collected from four playgrounds - Riverside Garden, Ruawai, Tinopai and Wood St in Mangawhai, from August 2012 to April 2013.

"It is obvious from these results that the majority of Kaipara residents support smokefree playgrounds, parks and sports grounds, so why are some people still smoking in these environments?" Ms Evans says.

To get help to stop smoking, talk to your local health provider, Aukati KaiPaipa quit coach, visit aukatikaipaipa.co.nz or call Quitline 0800 778 778.

Dargaville News