Vapers have joined smokers in being blown out of parts of Hamilton's CBD as council tightens up its Smokefree Policy.
At Tuesday's community and environmental services committee meeting, councillors voted to reduce smoking and vaping in public places.
A council staff report says: "Since 2015, vaping has become increasingly popular, both as a tool for smokers transitioning into quitting, but also as a recreational activity. The amount of harm caused by vaping is inconclusive, but research suggests that the same rules that apply to smokefree areas should also extend to vaping."
Several stores have opened since vaping became a trend, including Koda Vape in Garden Place.
Those public places would have included Waikato DHB premises, were it not for a change to the motion from councillor Dave Macpherson, who said the areas included originally are used by DHB patients to go out and smoke. Mr Macpherson, who, along with deputy mayor Martin Gallagher, sits on the DHB, said it would be hard for the DHB to enforce a smokefree area.
"If the DHB comes to us and shows a better plan for dealing with this that stops people needing to go out for a smoke, then by all means let's see how we can incorporate that into our policy," Mr Macpherson said. He said that the DHB should write to council saying they should ban smoking from their areas to make the process easier.
Councillor Mark Bunting would not support the vaping ban, saying there is not enough research around if vaping causes harm.
"From what I've heard it is actually a step back from smoking," Mr Bunting said.
"Why would we take that away from people. I hear the role modelling argument. I don't agree with that argument, otherwise we would be banning a lot more things like sneezing and not covering your hand over your mouth, to puffer jackets and shorts at the same time."
"This policy is a bladeless knife without a handle."
Mangai Maori committee member Te Pora Thompson said one of the leading causes for Maori mortality is tobacco, but said vaping was an effective method of eliminating smoking.
"My main concern, if our smoking rates are that high, if this is a tool that is going to help them then I am all for it," Ms Thompson said.
Councillor Rob Pascoe said the DHB could set-up a designated smoking areas, rather than remove the DHB completely from the policy.
"I hope that this would bring other players to the table, who will ask to also be in this policy," Mr Pascoe said. Councillor Ryan Hamilton said the policy is a step in the right direction.
"Just because we can't enforce something does not mean we can't send a message to the public. There are often protocols in the public that are not enforced, but expected," Mr Hamilton said. "Vaping looks terrible, irrespective of the health benefits and I will not endorse it."
Councillors Garry Mallett and Bunting voted against the policy.
Deputy mayor Martin Gallagher, and councillors Paula Southgate, Leo Tooman, Rob Pascoe, Siggi Henry, Macpherson, Hamilton, and Mangai Maori representatives Te Pora Thompson and Olly Te Ua voted for the policy.
The proposal will now go to full council for a final decision.
No vaping or smoking here
•Central city public space
•Garden Place and Civic Square
•Victoria on the River
•Ward St (from Victoria St to the end of Worley Place and the commencement of the Centre Place pedestrian mall)
•Council-owned buildings and facilities
•On or within 10m of council-owned or operated buildings and facilities.
•Parks, public buildings and Open Space
•All Hamilton City parks and open spaces
•On or within 10m of all council playgrounds
•The entire precinct of the Hamilton Transport Centre
•Within 2m of all bus stops and shelters within the Hamilton City boundaries.