Thirteen Whangarei CBD and Quayside cafes will be making their outdoor spaces smokefree this summer as part of The Fresh Air Project, a smokefree outdoor dining pilot.
The Fresh Air Smokefree outdoor dining pilot is based on a similar successful pilot run in Christchurch in 2017. The Whangarei pilot will run for three months, starting Monday. It will then be evaluated by the Cancer Society and Northland District Health Board.
Bridget Rowse, NDHB smokefree adviser, said the pilot will allow the public to experience the benefits of smokefree outdoor dining.
"Food tastes better and being outside is nicer when you don't have smoke around you," Mrs Rowse said.
"Secondhand smoke isn't just unpleasant, it poses a real health risk which customers and cafe staff shouldn't have to be exposed to. The vast majority of the public, around 85 per cent, don't smoke, and our research shows that they want to be able to enjoy outdoor dining without the smoke."
Cafes taking part are: Mokaba Cafe; Riverside Cafe; Serenity Cafe; Fudge Farm; The Quay; No.8; Grind Cafe; Bob Cafe; LIT; Deluca Cafe; La Familia Cafe; Precinct Cafe and No.7 Espresso Cafe. They join 14 cafes in the district that already have smokefree outdoor areas.
Mrs Rowse said the benefits of smokefree outdoor dining don't just extend to customers and staff.
"When cafes and restaurants went smokefree indoors in 2004 sales increased and we're confident that the same thing will happen this time. We believe the fresh air will attract more families, and improve the overall dining experience," she said.
"As for smokers, we know that the more smokefree environments there are, the easier it is to stop smoking. Most smokers want to quit, and being in a smokefree environment reduces the triggers of those trying to do so."
Jim Callaghan, Cancer Society Northland congratulated the 13 cafes for getting involved and supporting a smokefree future.
"We were initially concerned that cafes might be reluctant to get on board, but the opposite was true. The cafe owners we spoke to really 'got it'. They could see the benefits that being involved would provide to both their customers and their bottom line," Mr Callaghan said.