Editorial: Snowball on the move

Support our cause: South Canterbury's smokefree youth ambassadors hope smoking will be banned in sports grounds, following the ban in playgrounds.
Support our cause: South Canterbury's smokefree youth ambassadors hope smoking will be banned in sports grounds, following the ban in playgrounds.

True story. I was standing on the embankment at Fraser Park (yes, this was a few years ago) one Saturday watching rugby, and the chap in front of me had two roll-your-own smokes on the go at once.

One was in his mouth, the other behind his ear. The one behind his ear burnt a steady line through his greying hair until the smoke got so short it fell to the ground. At no stage did he seem to notice it. Did I mention he may or may not have been drinking alcohol?

Anyway, for those watching it was somewhat amusing.

But this type of thing may never happen again, if Timaru's sportsgrounds become smokefree. As looks likely. Because that's the way we're headed.

Playgrounds (tick), beaches (pending), sportsgrounds (submission in), cars (read on).

You've really got to admire the smokefree movement. It's like a snowball.

And in organising a submission to the Timaru District Council's long-term plan, Smokefree South Canterbury got young people (youth ambassadors) to front it. Clever.

And the youth ambassadors have argued on rather sensible grounds that secondhand smoke on the sideline isn't good for anyone, and that the less often young people see people smoking, the less likely they are to smoke themselves.

They did not use the argument that such a ban would also stop people from burning holes in the sides of their heads, but there you go.

They were clever though in also conducting a survey to go with their submission, which found that 164 of 200 Timaru people favoured smokefree grounds.

In fact, many people thought sportsgrounds were already smokefree.

Should the council approve smokefree status on its grounds, there'll need to be some coordination with non-council grounds, or confusion will reign.

And I wonder if we'll see a spike in sideline violence. There's already a fair bit of tension there, take away the smokes ...

And finally, cars. I've written before that one day smoking in your own car will be banned, but to be honest thought it would be a few years before we started seriously talking about it. But no, this week came the first official mention, a plea from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians that smoking be banned in cars that also carry children, children being those aged under 18.

See the snowball growing?

The Timaru Herald