Lynley Bilby

Lynley Bilby is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Smoke-free aim for bus stops

University wants no bus-stop smoking.

People are still smoking on footpaths between university buildings, despite the ban. Photo / Thinkstock
People are still smoking on footpaths between university buildings, despite the ban. Photo / Thinkstock

The first university in New Zealand to go smokefree is urging authorities to stop people smoking in bus stops on its city campus.

Auckland University registrar Tim Greville said the ban had been a success but smokers were still lighting up on public footpaths between university buildings.

Last month the Auckland Council introduced a "voluntary" smoking ban in public parks, leisure and arts facilities and transport hubs, including bus stops.

The council has also asked all contractors to refrain from smoking when working in parks.

Greville said the university clearly spelled out to its 40,000 students and staff that smoking was not allowed on the grounds.

But bus stops, metres from building entrances, were proving a headache, he said.

"There are an awful lot of people around bus stops who don't smoke and get very peed off with those who do. I, for one, think that's one thing the city authorities are going to have to address."

He said secondhand smoke was a well-documented health hazard and it was important to create a climate that made smoking unacceptable.

"Generally the social pressure and social stigma ... is a very powerful weapon."

Greville suggested a "sassy" campaign, telling commuters on the verge of lighting up to think twice, would possibly change attitudes.

In the meantime, the Auckland Council has told its contractors not to smoke on the job in the city's parks.

Northcote resident Kevin Fox saw contractors in the picturesque Onepoto Domain using the car park for smoko breaks and laid a complaint with the council. A council representative said all contractors had been told about the smokefree policy and no-smoking signs had also been erected at the city's parks.

- Herald on Sunday

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