Smokefree dining a breath of fresh air

By Te Ao Māori News

Six new cafes and restaurants in Whangarei are now offering smokefree outdoor dining as part of The Fresh Air Project. 

This means there are now 30 smokefree outdoor dining cafes in Whangarei.

The Fresh Air Project Whangarei pilot saw 13 CBD and Quayside cafes introduce smokefree outdoor dining in 2018. 

Northland DHB smokefree coordinator Bridget Rowse says, “It is really encouraging that most of the food premises in Quality Street have jumped at the chance to offer smokefree outdoor dining,”

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

Whangarei 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 CBD’s, Civic Spaces and laneways.

Rebecca Gilbert, Health Promoter, Cancer Society Northland says, “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.”

A recent survey of Whangarei residents showed that seventy-two percent supported smokefree outdoor public spaces, eighty-three per cent support smokefree outdoor dining and ninety-four percent 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,” says Mrs. Rowse.

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