Call for smokefree parks

An anti-smoking group wants the Marlborough District Council to extend its smokefree signage to all parks and playgrounds across the region.

Smokefree Marlborough submitted a request to the council's annual plan earlier this month for the continued development of a comprehensive smokefree policy.

The group's health promoter, Felicity Spencer, said the policy should include all council-owned assets, events, reserves and amenities.

The move would tie in with the government's vision of a smokefree New Zealand by 2025, Ms Spencer said.

A council spokeswoman said plans were already in place to erect anti-smoking signs across all parks and playgrounds.

Ms Spencer said smokefree areas helped to "de-normalise" smoking for children while protecting them from harmful second-hand smoke.

"If it's part of their everyday environment, they see it as normal, acceptable behaviour," she said. "It also protects young people from starting to smoke and provides a supportive environment for those wanting to quit. We recognise smoking is not a choice, once you start it's an addiction."

Council support services manager Dean Heiford said the council supported smokefree environments.

However, it was unlikely to adopt a policy to police or enforce smokefree areas, Mr Heiford said. It was up to the individual to adhere to the signs, he said.

Submissions to the 2013-14 council annual plan, which closed on May 9, will be collated and heard from June 4-5.

Smokefree Marlborough is holding a free barbecue, on-the-spot quit sessions and smokefree giveaways and activities in Market Pl, Blenheim, on Friday to celebrate World Smokefree Day.

The community eventruns from 12pm until 1pm.

The Marlborough Express