The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Wellington bars and pubs to become smoke- and vape-free

All hospitality venues in Wellington with outdoor dining on Council land will become smoke- and vape-free from 1 March 2023.

In support of Smokefree Aotearoa 2025, Council is asking Wellingtonians to clear the air in their favourite pubs, bars, and other venues.

From 1 March 2023, businesses with an outdoor dining area that extends onto the footpath will become smoke- and vape-free.

This change does not affect smoking areas on private land, such as like balconies, backyard dining areas, rooftops or outdoor dining that is not on Council-owned land.

These changes to hospitality venues add to the list of areas already smoke- and vape-free in Wellington City, which includes beaches, playgrounds, skate parks, sportsfields, bus stops, Waitangi, Midland and Truby King parks, the Botanic Garden, Otari-Wilton’s Bush, Bolton Street Cemetery, Te Ngākau Civic Square, Grey Street, Wellington Zoo and Zealandia, and entrances to all Council buildings including libraries and swimming pools.

In Aotearoa, about 8% of the population smokes and another 8% vapes – the goal is to reduce this to less than 5% of the population.

Manager of Wellington City Council Public Health Group, Helen Jones, says this change is showing Wellington’s contribution to a nationwide movement.

“Wellingtonians are considerate people who respect the smokefree and vapefree areas, and these changes to dining and hospo areas reaffirms the Council’s commitment to Smokefree Aotearoa 2025.

“Our approach is always about positively encouraging smokefree and vapefree areas, rather than punishing people for smoking or vaping.

“We will continue to take an educational approach about the physical, social and environmental benefits of going smokefree and vapefree.

“We understand this is a big change for both businesses and their customers, so we are providing them with any support or resources they may need to prepare for this change in March 2023.”

Jones says the change was originally set to start in July 2022, but with businesses still recovering from the aftermath of COVID-19, Council decided to hold off enforcing this change until 1 March 2023.

“This campaign over the busy summer months will help prepare businesses and Wellingtonians for this behaviour change.”

The changes are part of the Trading and Events in Public Places Policy, which was passed by Council in November 2021.

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