Palmerston North City councillors want to know if people agree with the Auahi Kore Smokefree outdoor areas policy to include vaping.

Consultation is now open for submissions on proposed changes to the policy and will finish on July 31.

Concerns about vaping have recently arisen locally and nationally with the effect it is having on young people, and the rate of uptake of vaping.

According to the Ministry of Health, around 5000 people die each year in New Zealand because of smoking or second-hand smoke exposure.

Last year, the local Smokefree Reference Group ran a survey, "Attitudes to smoking and vaping in outdoor areas in Palmerston North".

Advertisement

The survey had 1721 responses.

More than half of the respondents thought the identified outdoor areas in the survey should be smokefree, with 98 per cent stating that all playgrounds should be smokefree.

Another question in the consultation, is for feedback on the public areas designated in the draft policy.

There are changes to the current policy that see the inclusion of areas such as skate parks and bus terminals.

Full details of the proposed policy are available in the consultation document, which is available online (pncc.govt.nz/smokefree) or at council offices and city libraries.
Submissions can also be made online.

Council's policy review is unaffected by the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill that is currently progressing through Parliament.

One of the intentions of this amendment is to protect against the normalisation of vaping among children and young people, where the long-term effects are not yet known.

The bill, if passed, will extend many of the existing provisions of the Smokefree Environments Act 2003 to vaping products and heated tobacco devices.