Waitemata Local Board launches Smokefree across Central Auckland on World Smokefree Day

Auckland Council and Cancer Society Media Release  25 May 2012

Cancer Society congratulates Waitemata Local Board on being one of the first Auckland areas to make all playgrounds and sportsfields Smokefree. To mark the occasion, Waitemata Local Board is launching their Smokefree playgrounds and sportsfields with an event at Victoria Park.  The official unveiling of Council’s new Smokefree signage will take place and students from Ponsonby Intermediate will be competing in a skateboard and scooter competition.

“It’s about Whānau” is NZ’s theme behind this year’s World Smokefree Day”, says John Loof, CEO, Cancer Society Auckland.  “Smokefree is about looking after our whānau, and protecting our future generations.  When children use the parks, they should be learning how to play sports and have fun, not learning how to smoke.  By removing smoking from the areas where children play we will no longer normalise smoking behaviour.    Research shows that when children are surrounded by smoking they are more likely to start, and in New Zealand the average age that children are starting is 14 years and even younger for Māori at  11 years old.

This Smokefree Day Waitemata Local Board are launching Smokefree sportsfields and  playgrounds, this will mean that Smokefree signage will now be part of the landscape and smoking will no longer be accepted in these areas across central Auckland. “Auckland Council has committed to Smokefree in the Auckland plan which is a very positive step towards a future with less cancer. It is great that Local Boards have also taken a lead around Smokefree with Smokefree areas, and we look forward to Auckland Council making Smokefree the norm more and more across the city.      It’s about our Whānau, our communities, our future”.   John Loof, CEO, Cancer Society Auckland.

“The Waitemata Local Board is delighted to drive home the Smokefree message by becoming one of the first boards to roll out signage across sportsfields and playgrounds in the area. The focus is on encouraging culture change through education, awareness and public monitoring.  We are committed to providing clean, healthy and fun environments where our children and young people play and offering ongoing support for Smokefree.”  says Shale Chambers, Chair for Waitemata Local Board.