Veteran Hawke's Bay cafe and bar owner Graeme Smith has never smoked, although he has relied a good many of his 40 years in the business on those who do.

But now, on World Smokefree Day, he's happily doing his bit to wipe-out smoking by creating a "fresh air zone" on the King St North footpath out his Sutto Cafe in Hastings. His cafe's become among the first establishments in the region to ban smoking from the tables on the council-owned footpath outside.

It will no longer be cool to smoke outside Sutto Cafe in a step taken ahead of the implementation of the Napier and Hastings councils' Joint Smokefree Policy on July 1.

Smokefree zoning will be conditions of footpath dining as permits are renewed or issued, and the policy, which had been awaited with interest by other councils throughout the country, will be renewed every three years.


Hastings Mayor and Local Government New Zealand chairman Lawrence Yule said that meant businesses not wanting to comply with the policy would not get the permits to use the footpaths.

Other businesses also getting in early in Hawke's Bay are Napier businesses Ujazi and Jester's Pies in Napier, and Bay Espresso, Taradale.

Mr Smith, who's been in the food and refreshments game in Hastings and Napier for 40 years, said: "It will be interesting to see what happens when it does kick in. The time has come for smokers to give up smoking."

Hawke's Bay District Health Board Smokefree Health co-ordinator Johnanna Wilson was at Sutto Cafe with her crew yesterday, providing the back-up support and signage.

It had some immediate impact, with one of the few smokers among the 16 staff Mr Smith employs across two Sutto cafes, in town and near Hawke's Bay Fallen Soldiers Memorial Hospital, pledging to quit the habit.

The staff member "signed-on" with Smokefree team member Te Aroha Hunt, saying her partner also wants to give up smoking.

Ms Wilson said the initiative at Sutto Cafe had been Mr Smith's. He contacted the Smokefree team for help with signage and other support as Hawke's Bay takes the next step in creating a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025.

In Napier, Ujazi manager Tom Quinn said there had been very little negative feedback. "A lot of children come here with their families and this creates a healthier environment for everyone. Sometimes you need to do something for the greater good."

Sonja Nicholls, from Jesters Pies, said: "I was all for it. We have a lot of kids coming here and the last thing they need is people smoking around them."

The policy is educative, and is about encouraging people who wish to smoke to move away from areas the councils have named 'fresh air zones'.