Smokefree debate lights up Invercargill forum

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 14:17 20/08/2014

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Smokers could soon be banned from lighting up in Esk St, if a youth council proposal gets approval.

Invercargill Youth Council representatives Pania Wells and Martha Broughton took the suggestion to the Invercargill City Council yesterday.

Speaking during public forum, Wells said the council should consider making Esk St a smokefree zone as part of inner-city upgrade plans.

The upgrade was intended to make the CBD a family friendly area, and stopping people from smoking along Esk St would promote this, she said. It would also stop cigarettes from being normalised in society, she said.

Councillor Alan Dennis asked whether the youth council had consulted the business community about the proposal, and whether the ban would affect businesses in the street.

Broughton acknowledged the move could affect businesses but said it was in line with the Government’s goal to make New Zealand smokefree by 2025.

Representatives from Public Health South, the Heart Foundation, the Cancer Society and Nga Kete also spoke during public forum, voicing their support for the youth council’s proposal.

Cancer Society Southland health promotion co-ordinator Sarah Chisnell said making Esk St smokefree should also include banning e-cigarettes, as these were not yet endorsed by the Ministry of Health.

The suggestion reignited debate around the council table about the safety of e-cigarettes, with councillor Lindsay Abbott producing research he claimed supported their use.

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- The Southland Times

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