Smoke-free cafes prove hit with Wairarapa diners

By Hayley Gastmeier -
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Eight Wairarapa cafes are now advocating for smokefree dining  after  a Compass Health initiative. Photo / Hayley Gastmeier
Eight Wairarapa cafes are now advocating for smokefree dining after a Compass Health initiative. Photo / Hayley Gastmeier

Compass Health's three-week smoke-free dining trial came to a close last week, with the majority of people filling out campaign surveys in support of smoke-free restaurants and cafes.

Eight Wairarapa cafes jumped onboard with the initiative, which saw ashtrays on outdoor dining tables replaced with Smokefree signs.

Surveys were offered for customers to fill out asking whether or not they supported smoke-free outdoor dining. Of 703 surveys completed, 85 per cent were in support, with 15 per cent not supporting the smokefree drive.

Compass Health's Wairarapa health promoter Kathryn Tomlinson said although smoking is a personal choice, it was one that impacts others.

"It is important to remember that there is no safe level of second-hand smoke. Significant tobacco smoke effects occur at over 10 metres from groups of smokers, and at least nine metres from a burning cigarette in light winds.

"This means tobacco smoke does affect patrons and cafe workers some distance away and smoke drift can also enter your cafe."

She said smokefree dining was common in Australia with some of their smokefree restaurants reporting increased income and patronage.

"It may be some time before New Zealand follows Australia's lead and legislates for smokefree outdoor dining, but why wait?

"Let's go after increased local revenue, look after the health of our staff and diners by protecting them from second-hand smoke and help smokers quit and stay off cigarettes by increasing smokefree environments."

The cafes that took place in the Wairarapa trial were Pukaha Wild Cafe, Iberia, Entice Cafe and Catering, Dish Cafe, Wild Oats, The Village Grinder, 2 Short Whites and Ten O'clock Cookie.

"We are really happy with the results, and super happy that the eight participating cafes are continuing with their smokefree dining choosing to make it a permanent thing," Mrs Tomlinson said.

"All participating cafes enjoyed a very positive response from customers about their smokefree outdoor dining."

She said the PHO had Smokefree signage available free for Wairarapa cafes.

"We don't expect you to police smokers or tell people off, the signage is enough."

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