Te tūnga auahi kore

Smokefree position

Smokefree outdoor areas

Council administered public areas in Tairāwhiti are designated smokefree, they include:

  1. Our playgrounds
  2. Parks and sports grounds, including skate parks
  3. Beaches - Midway, Waikanae, Kaiti, Wainui and Okitu
  4. Outdoor public areas around Council buildings and facilities
  5. Smokefree Council run and funded events

Tairāwhiti has the highest rates of smoking in New Zealand. 30% of adults in the region, twice the national average, self-report as daily smokers, and those figures climb to 41.7% for Maori.

This represents an average of 12.1 cigarettes per smoker per day in Tairāwhiti costing approximately $5,520 per smoker per year and around $77.5 million spent on tobacco in this region every year.

The cost to families and the community is far higher. Smokers on average live 10 -15 years less than non-smokers.

Figures for smoking related deaths by region are not available. However, lung cancer death rates in Tairāwhiti are much higher than other regions (36.5 deaths per 100,000 people) and does not take account of the years of preventable illness caused by smoking related chronic heart disease, respiratory disease and stroke.

Smokefree outdoor Areas can contribute toward further denormalising smoking. Reducing the uptake of smoking amongst young people, can aid in achieving the goal of a smokefree Aotearoa 2025.

This policy contributes to 2018-2028 Long Term Plans Community Outcomes

  • Tairāwhiti Tangata – Our people
  • Tairāwhiti Taonga – Our environment, culture and economy
  • Tairāwhiti Wawata – Our aspirations realised

  • further denormalise smoking for children and young people by reducing its visibility in public areas
  • contribute to improved health and wellbeing by reducing smoking and the impacts of second-hand smoke.

Council will not pursue any direct enforcement of this policy. Smokefree outdoor areas polices use education and empowerment rather than enforcement and prosecution to reduce smoking in public places and around children. Research has found that in areas where children are present, smokers are more likely to comply with smokefree signage. Likewise, caregivers are more likely to ask smokers to stop or move away in well sign posted smokefree areas.

Implementation of the policy will involve installation of bilingual signage in the most popular areas, where children and families congregate and an online/social media awareness campaign.

Recent guidance from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation has advised authorities not to legislate against or reduce the availability of vaping and e-cigarettes. Both organisations stated that while not harmless, vaping and e-cigarettes are far less harmful that tobacco, pose no known risk through second hand inhalation and present one of the most effective smoking cessation tools currently available.

As a result of that advice, Council is excluding the use of vaping and e-cigarettes from the restrictions named in this Policy.


The policy will be reviewed in 2020 prior to consultation on the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan.