Smoking ban at Auckland regional parks

By Hayden Donnell

Photo / Richard Robinson
Photo / Richard Robinson

Smokers are set to be banned from lighting up in any of Auckland's 24 regional parks in a move set to spread to open areas across the city.

The new smokefree policy announced by Auckland Council will cover iconic areas such as Long Bay Regional Park, Tawharanui, Muriwai and Awhitu.

Parks, Recreation and Heritage Forum chair Sandra Coney said the ban was a logical step.

Smoking raised the risk of fire and decreased the natural beauty of the regional parks, she said.

"Promoting smokefree parks sets a positive example to our younger park visitors. The last thing you need when enjoying the clean air and natural beauty of our parks is the waft of someone else's smoking.

"The reduction of cigarette butts littering parks will certainly benefit the environment as well."

The regional parks join a growing number of facilities, including Auckland Zoo, Mt Smart Stadium and Eden Park, going smokefree in Auckland.

A release from Auckland Council said it was also considering smoking bans in other parks.

The council would not take a "big stick" approach enforcing the smokefree policy and would rely on park users to educate smokers about the ban, Ms Coney said.

"This has worked at other venues. It will happen over time as the message gets around."

The trend has won the approval of the Cancer Society. Its Auckland chapter chief executive John Loof said banning smoking meant more people could enjoy the regional park network.

"We're thrilled that everyone can now enjoy the great outdoors without being exposed to passive smoke."

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