MidCentral DHB Public Health applauds Palmerston North City Council (PNCC) for deciding to make Palmerston North outdoor dining and drinking areas Smokefree.
Councillors at the Planning and Policy committee meeting on Monday voted overwhelmingly in favour of requiring ashtrays to be removed and smokefree signage to be displayed, as part of permit conditions for having tables and chairs on Council owned footpaths. The permits are part of the council's Signs and Use of Public Places Bylaw and will still need to be signed off at a full council meeting in late August.
Smokefree Health Promotion Advisor Julie Beckett said: “We are very fortunate to be working alongside such a wonderful proactive council. The leadership that PNCC has shown in moving towards the Government’s goal of a smokefree country by 2025 has been heartening. I’m not aware of any other council in the country that has smokefree criteria as part of their relevant bylaw.
“PNCC also led a remit, which was supported by 53 of 76 councils present at the Local Government New Zealand AGM in July. The remit called for central government to make legislation for all outdoor dining and drinking areas to be smokefree. PNCC is truly leading the way for improving the health and wellbeing of their communities, and in turn contributing to reducing inequities in health.”
Throughout the country smoking rates have reduced to below 16%, yet rates for Maori remain high. However, recent data from Statistics New Zealand indicated some very positive trends for Māori in Palmerston North. The proportion of Māori females in Palmerston North who were regular smokers dropped from 43% of Māori females in 2006 to 31% in 2013. The proportions for Māori males were 36% and 27% respectively. The most significant change for Māori females was in the 15 – 24 years age group, dropping from 43% in 2006 to 26% in 2013.
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