Calls to ban smoking in Queenstown public places

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Queenstowners are being asked whether more outside spaces in the resort should become ‘smoke-free’ zones.

Health officials were on the streets today (Thursday), World Smokefree Day, surveying the public about the issue.

In Queenstown the current policy designates all playgrounds as smoke-free areas but this could be extended to include parks, outdoor sports fields and facilities, and beaches.

Southern Primary Health Organisation promotions co-ordinator Sarah Berger says: “Other authorities have already adopted such measures.

“They’ve proved overwhelmingly popular and are inexpensive to implement. They are not enforced, it is just a case of putting up signs.

“It helps protect children from becoming smokers.”

About 65,000 people, or 21 per cent of the population, smoke in New Zealand, with 5000 of them dying through smoke-related illnesses each year.

The Government is aiming to create a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025.

About 40 people had completed the survey by lunchtime. The results will be forwarded to Queenstown Lakes District Council.

Public Health South, the Southern PHO and Cancer Society joined together to promote smoke-free areas. They also surveyed shoppers at Remarkables Park and Wanaka lakefront.