Invercargill needs a smokefree policy if it is to keep up with central government’s target of smokefree by 2025, city councillors have been told.
Speaking at the Invercargill City Council 2017-18 annual plan submissions on Monday, Southern DHB health promotion professional leader Janice Burton said the largest impacts on health came from outside the health service.
The Southern DHB presented the submission through its public health service, Public Health South. The DHB preferred a smokefree policy, rather than bylaw for the city, Burton said. The council staff would not be involved in enforcement.
In 2011, the New Zealand Government set a goal so that by 2025 fewer than 5 per cent of New Zealanders would be smokers.
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Burton provided councillors with a summary of the Invercargill CBD surveys. Twenty businesss on Esk St completed the survey, and 75 per cent supported a smokefree CBD.
Of those who did not support it, 100 per cent agreed to the CBD’s pocket parks becoming smokefree. Ninety per cent of businesses supported a trial for Esk St.
Sixteen businesses said tourists impacted their business, and no business believed going smokefree would affect this.
A survey of 73 tourists found 85 per cent of tourists did not smoke, and 80 per cent would support no smoking in the Invercargill CBD.
The Southern DHB’s submission says they commended the council for consulting on smokefree issues and considering a policy for Esk St. “We recommend … a city-wide approach to encouraging smokefree outdoor spaces, including cafes and restaurants,” it says.
“[It] would be likely to receive positive outcomes for businesses as it has in other cities.”
Public Health South would continue to support council smokefree facilities, spaces and events by way of signage, policy development and promotion, it says.
Also in the submission, the DHB commended the council for its proposal to improve flooding protection on the Stead St stopbank, and the proposed improvements to Splash Palace.
At a city council meeting in March last year, councillors agreed to develop a new smokefree policy at the request of the Invercargill Youth Council. A smokefree Esk St policy was said to be formed by council staff and would be provided to the public for feedback.