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Over half of Hanmer Springs businesses would support a smokefree street zone in the town, according to a recent survey.
The survey, conducted earlier this year by the Cancer Society in consultation with the Hurunui District Council, Canterbury District Health Board and Hanmer Springs Business Association, shows that 63% of the 106 responding businesses would support a smokefree street zone somewhere in Hanmer Springs.
Twenty four percent of businesses said they would not support the concept, whilst the remaining 13% were undecided.
Cheryl Ford, Health Promotion Advisor at the Cancer Society said, “The zone would be a voluntary smokefree and vapefree zone supported by signage and promotions. It’s all about providing positive role modelling to children and making smoking less visible in our communities – something which we know leads to health benefits.
“A key concern from participants was that a smokefree zone could have a negative impact on tourism and business in Hanmer Springs. Reviewing evidence from both New Zealand and overseas indicates that previous smokefree policies have not had a negative impact on tourism or business.”
Ford says that there are a number of examples that show smokefree areas don’t negatively impact on business. These include strict tobacco laws introduced in Hawaii in 2006, and an inner-city smokefree by-law in Melbourne that came into effect in 2013; both citing no impact on tourism. In addition, a number of hospitality businesses in Canterbury have joined the Fresh Air Project – an initiative to support hospitality venues in Smokefree outdoor dining. None of the participating venues have reported any detrimental impact to business.
Across New Zealand 12 city or district councils, including the tourism hubs of Auckland and Rotorua, have smokefree CBD or Civic spaces, and the Hurunui District Council already has a Smokefree Outdoors Strategy, making all playgrounds, reserves, council events and entrances and exits to council buildings smokefree.
Hanmer Springs Business Association Chairperson Christian Chester said he felt the survey was an accurate indication of business owners’ feelings on the subject. “This survey was conducted across a broad spectrum of Hanmer businesses as part of the Government’s goal of making New Zealand smokefree by 2025,” he said.
Following the survey, the Cancer Society and Canterbury District Health Board have developed a draft proposal to implement the smokefree zone in Hanmer Springs, which is currently being consulted with the Hurunui District Council and relevant stakeholders.