Wellingtonians back smoking ban

Fify-six per cent out of 220 people surveyed believe the city centre should be completely smokefree.
Fify-six per cent out of 220 people surveyed believe the city centre should be completely smokefree.

More than half of Wellingtonians think the city's Golden Mile central shopping area should be smokefree, recent research suggests.

Researchers from University of Otago in Wellington observed an average of seven smokers for every 10 minutes of walking on Courtenay Place, Manners Mall, Willis Street and Lambton Quay.

''This means that non-smokers are coming into contact with second-hand smoke on a regular basis, and raises the question whether New Zealand should follow other jurisdictions in making busy shopping areas smokefree,'' public health researcher Associate Professor Nick Wilson said.

Of those interviewed on the streets, 56 per cent out of 220 believed the area should be completely smokefree, research published in the international journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research said.
  
Three per cent were undecided, and 41 per cent were against making it completely smokefree, Mr Wilson said.
  
Researchers also measured fine particulates in the Golden Mile air with a portable monitoring device.

They measured the levels while they were one metre from a smoker, two metres and three metres and then compared with air particulates standing at an intersection on Courtenay Place.

Particulate levels around a smoker were on average three times those found beside Courtenay Place - and one bar's outdoor smoking area was seven times higher.

This suggested the need for smokefree policies to be extended to protect the health of workers, and non-smoking customers wanting to sit outside at cafes and bars, Mr Wilson said.

The Dominion Post