Smokers are going to be squeezed at this year's Golden Shears with the smoking police monitoring the front of the recreation centre – a popular spot for a puff break during the four days of competition.
The Wairarapa District Health Board and the Golden Shears committee have agreed to make this year's event totally smokefree, including a zone outside the Genesis Energy Recreation Centre, which hosts the event.
DHB smokefree co-ordinator Linda Spence said even though the stadium was already smokefree, smokers congregated outside the front of the complex.
"They got very upset with all the second-hand smoke billowing in," she said.
During the Golden Shears the DHB will set up an information tent close to the entrance of the stadium and Quitline representatives will be on hand to talk to people about giving up if they are interested.
The Golden Shears will also have wardens patrolling the new zone.
"We're going to man it quite long hours, just to keep them away," Spence said.
The big question is, if people can't smoke outside the stadium/pool entrance, where are they going to go?
"The park and playground across the road are smokefree and no smoking is allowed down the rear of the recreation centre building.
"It's like 'just go away'," said Spence, which she said was pretty much summed up how society was beginning to feel about smokers in general.
The Golden Shears committee was making a special effort this year to get the message out and make sure everybody knew the score.
Golden Shears president Philip Morrison said smoking was part of the culture of the shearing industry. Organisers felt they had a moral responsibility to look after the health of their people.
"We do know it's a habit within the industry.
"In a way it's a moral issue so it becomes a community responsibility."
The DHB will get help to raise awareness of the smokefree policy among participants and spectators around the centre through announcements made during the event.
"They're going to get fantastic mileage through our commentators in the stadium," Morrison said.
Some people might not be happy about having to walk a short distance for a smoke, but this might help reinforce the smoke-free message, he said.
- Wairarapa News