Photo: Nicolas Ladino Silva/Unsplash

Hastings District and Napier City Councils are taking up arms and joining the cause of a smokefree Hawke’s Bay, whilst the Coalition Government annihilates the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Act 2022.

The legislation was hailed around the world when it was passed by Parliament in December 2022, for its creation of a smokefree generation.

It ended the sale of tobacco to anyone born after 2008, preventing tobacco companies from recruiting young people as the next generation of smokers and mandated the removal of nicotine from smoked tobacco, minimising the potential for addiction.

In an attempt to stem the harm which arises from smoking, Hastings District and Napier City Councils are stepping in, launching a joint education and marketing campaign to support their revised Smokefree and Vapefree Policy adopted in 2022.

The initiative aims to create healthier public spaces and reduce the impact of smoking, vaping, and tobacco use in Hawke’s Bay.

From now through until World Smokefree Day on May 31st the public can expect to see the roll-out of new smokefree/vapefree signage across the councils’ public spaces. 

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst emphasised the policy’s importance, stating: “This initiative marks a significant step forward in improving community health. We aim to support the Smokefree Hawke’s Bay 2025 Strategy, reducing smoking and vaping, particularly among our youth.”

Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise joined the commitment. “This policy is an important way for councils to contribute to the health and wellbeing of our communities,” she said. “It encourages positive role modelling for tamariki so everyone can enjoy our public spaces and places.”

The policy replaces the 2015 policy and covers various public places, including parks, sportsgrounds, playgrounds, reserves, entrances to council offices and facilities, bus stops, and dining areas on publicly owned land.

Pedestrian laneways are also included for the first time in the latest policy. All events at these locations must be smokefree and vapefree.

Health New Zealand, Te Whatu Ora in Hawke’s Bay supported the councils’ joint policy to encourage better health outcomes in our community.

The councils also encouraged businesses and organisations to implement smokefree and vapefree areas, by providing free signage and promotional materials.

Scheduled for a comprehensive review every three years, the policy’s effectiveness will be assessed, and regulatory adjustments considered if necessary. 

Ministry of Health data reveals tobacco use remains the most significant cause of preventable health issues and premature death in New Zealand and disproportionately affects Māori and Pacific communities.

The Coalition Government’s repeal of the act has been deemed by various parties as “Putting the profits of the tobacco industry ahead of the health of New Zealanders” and “grossly irresponsible.”

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) co-chair Professor Boyd Swinburn said, “The tobacco industry will be celebrating their victory in getting the Government coalition parties, all of whom have significant ties with the industry, to run their agenda in keeping 284,000 smokers addicted to their products for as long as possible.”

Ngāti Kahungunu chairman and former Hawke’s Bay DHB member Bayden Barber previously told BayBuzz the law would have made “major gains for our people, saving a whole generation from ever experiencing smoking”.

“Repealing the law will mean that smokes will be available in 6,000 stores rather than 600 specialty stores. This will likely see more of our younger people have access to cigarettes. Smoking has been a scourge to Māori over many generations.”

Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air


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  1. THis is just another step by the coalition government to undermine everything good that has been previously achieved so that they can finance their tax cuts formulae – most of which will be mainly to the benefit by their wealthy and business supporters. Their efforts will take us back to the 80’s and we all know where that decade ended and who were mainly affected by the downturn at the time. I really, really (really) hope that this is a one term government

  2. Well done for our councils to continue to aim for Smoke-free Hawkes Bay, the only sensible action to show the younger generation that we care about their health and wellbeing.

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