Council mulls city-wide smoking ban

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 10:30 02/04/2013
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Palmerston North City Council is considering a smoking ban across central-city footpaths and all council-owned parks, playgrounds and buildings.

The council has created a draft smokefree areas policy to be considered at a meeting of its Wellbeing Committee this afternoon at Caccia Birch.

Parks and playgrounds in Palmerston North have been smokefree since November 2009. Smoking is not prohibited, but it is discouraged through signage.

Today the committee will discuss three options before releasing the policy for public consultation.

Option one would see smoking prohibited in all council-owned parks and playgrounds, including The Square and Victoria Esplanade, facilities such as Te Manawa and libraries, council-funded events and central city footpaths.

However a report to today's meeting by council policy analyst Peter Ridge says there is no way to enforce such a ban.

Rather, signs should be erected and the ban "would be reliant solely on voluntary compliance", the report said.

The second option would enable the creation of clean-air zones at council parks and playgrounds, buildings and events. These zones would have signage that encouraged people not to smoke while within the area.

The third option is to retain the status quo.

Ridge's report said that while both options one and two aim to reduce smoking in outdoor areas, option two is more positive and supportive, rather than being restrictive.

"A persuasive approach is more likely to result in behaviour change, and is less likely to encounter resistance from businesses and community," Ridge said.

Consultation on the policy was unlikely to be through a formal submission process but rather through activities such as focus groups and kiosks at events, and through the use of social media.

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- Manawatu Standard

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