Smoking's still OK at the beach
Council-controlled sports facilities will go smokefree in Timaru District, but Caroline Bay beach will not.
In submissions to the council's long-term plan, Smokefree South Canterbury, South Canterbury Smokefree Youth Ambassadors and Community and Public Health had all asked the council to up its game when it comes to smokefree outdoor areas.
The submitters supported the council's move in declaring its playgrounds smokefree last year, and asked it do the same for its sportsgrounds.
Doing so would make smoking seem less normal to children and they would be less likely to start smoking, the submitters said.
The health impact of outdoor smoking on those using the sportsgrounds also needed to be considered. Submitters were confident the policy would be self-policing, with smokers less likely to light up in an area where there were smokefree signs.
Smoking was a huge public health issue, Cr Steve Earnshaw said, moving that both council-controlled sports grounds and facilities and the beach at Caroline Bay be declared smokefree areas. He said 200 municipalities worldwide had already declared beaches smokefree.
Sports that leased council grounds could be asked to take the same approach, Cr Damon Odey suggested.
Declaring the facilities smokefree was sending a message to the community, Cr Michael Oliver said.
But Cr Jane Coughlan said smoking was a legal activity. "Deep down I have a nagging feeling about this. We are making smokers into outcasts, making them feel dreadful.
"It is not illegal, so is it up to us to be so arbitrary? Why are we being so heavy-handed?"
The Government made a lot of money out of smoking, she said.
Other councillors were comfortable with sportsgrounds going smokefree, but not for the beach at Caroline Bay, where the council controls the area above the high-tide mark.
That move was lost with only Crs Earnshaw, Hamish Fraser and Tracy Tierney voting in favour.
- © Fairfax NZ News