Six cafes and restaurants in Whangārei's Quality St are now offering smokefree outdoor dining as part of The Fresh Air Project, which brings the total to 30 smokefree outdoor dining cafes in the district.

The Fresh Air Project Whangārei pilot saw 13 CBD and Quayside cafes introduce smokefree outdoor dining in 2018 and the six Quality St eateries had now climbed aboard too.

"It is really encouraging that most of the food premises in Quality St have jumped at the chance to offer smokefree outdoor dining," Northland DHB smokefree co-ordinator Bridget Rowse said.

"At this time of the year it is nice to eat outside and secondhand smoke isn't just unpleasant, it poses a real health risk which customers, cafe staff and public shouldn't have to be exposed to.''


Whangārei District Council reviewed its Smokefree policy in September 2018 and will be phasing in more smokefree outdoor public spaces. Many town centres around New Zealand have introduced smokefree CBDs, civic spaces and laneways.

"We know from other cafes who have introduced smokefree outdoor dining that it attracts more families, improves the overall dining experience and is cleaner for the environment," Cancer Society Northland health promoter Rebecca Gilbert said.

A recent survey of Whangārei residents showed that 72 per cent supported smokefree outdoor public spaces, 83 per cent support smokefree outdoor dining and 94 per cent of "customers" supported smokefree outdoor dining.

"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 a smokefree environment helps support them on their quit journey and also reduces the triggers to smoke," Rowse said.

The Fresh Air Smokefree Project is based on a pilot that ran in Christchurch in 2017, and is now being introduced into several regions throughout New Zealand.