Should Auckland beaches be smoke-free?

By Wayne Thompson


Smoking at the beach could join bans at playgrounds and sports fields in the latest moves to make Auckland smoke-free by 2025.


Beaches have been added to a list of targets for a regional smoke-free policy which is under discussion by the Auckland Council.


 


In August, the council endorsed the goal but said it would have to rely on people's co-operation, because it was too costly to create a bylaw and enforce it. It left staff to research ideas for a draft policy.


Targets which the council could direct to display smoke-free signs now include parks, playgrounds, sports fields, beaches, town centres and areas around significant buildings. Stadiums, outdoor swimming pools and areas around libraries, halls, community centres and transport stations and events which the council sponsors are also suggested.


Eleven of the 21 local boards plan to make parks and playgrounds and sports fields smoke-free but only Waitemata Local Board has named beaches as in its sights. Overseas, smoking is banned on popular beaches such as Bondi in Sydney and Californian's Huntington Beach.


Waitemata parks and youth spokesperson Jesse Chalmers said bans would be phased in. Smoke-free signs were up in some playgrounds and fields but not at some waterfront spots or its beaches at Herne Bay and Judges Bay.


On Tuesday, the council parks, recreation and heritage forum decided to work "proactively" towards making Auckland smoke-free by 2025 and discuss with local boards a co-ordinated approach.


It wanted a draft smoke-free policy out early next year.


Local board leaders said yesterday that a ban on some beaches and not on others would confuse smokers moving between the region's beaches.


Mission Bay Beach is in the Orakei Local Board area and its chairwoman, Desley Simpson, said the board must consult on any smoke-free move there with the residents and business association.


Hibiscus & Bays Local Board chairwoman Julia Parfitt said a beach ban would be "extremely hard to police".


Devonport-Takapuna Local Board chairman Chris Darby said there were already enough signs at beaches telling people what they could not do.


Smoking ban targets


35,000 butts wash up in Hauraki Gulf daily.

10,000 swimmers a day at Piha surf beach.

1m visitors a year at Long Bay.


Smoke-free now: Regional parks, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland Zoo, Eden Park, playgrounds and fields in former Manukau and Waitakere cities; Botany Town Centre.

- THE AUCKLANDER

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