Proposed Smoking Ban in Wellington to Put Smokers in the Middle of the Road

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By Reissa Su | April 7, 2014 5:23 PM EST

A researcher from Otago University in Wellington has proposed a public smoking ban. A new study identified the areas in Wellington where the most smokers are outside bars and cafes. According to the new research, Cuba Street and Courtenay PI were the worst.

Reuters
A shopkeeper reaches for a packet of cigarettes in a newsagent in London November 28, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

George Thomson from Otago University's Department of Public Health urges the New Zealand government to stop smoking in public. He said a smoking ban should be in place within 5 meters where people are eating and drinking.

For Cuba Street and parts of Courtenay PI, the proposed smoking ban could be effective. Thomson said his proposal was far from stigmatizing smokers. He data showed four in five smokers want to give up smoking. Implementing a smoking ban could be another reason to quit the habit.

Smoke-free areas can help people quit and help former smokers avoid the temptation to smoke. He added  a smoking ban can reduce water pollution, trash and cleaning costs for the local government.

But Ciaran Duffy, Malthouse manager on Courtenay PI, thought the idea was "ridiculous." Since the bar is surrounded by pubs and restaurants, people would have to be at the middle of the road to smoke if a ban would be imposed.

Duffy understands the need to reduce smoking but smokers should not be ostracized and accommodated in existing smoking areas.

The study also showed there are more people who are smoking in their 20s today than in the previous years.

The government has implemented a voucher scheme to discourage pregnant women from smoking. They were offered $300 vouchers to quit the habit. The South Auckland government imposed the voucher scheme to protect unborn babies from tobacco damage.

The $300 voucher can be used by Kiwi pregnant women to purchase groceries, baby products, cinema tickets, phone credit and petrol. The voucher for female smokers is part of the government's effort to encourage people to stop tobacco use.

An annual increase of 10 percent in tobacco tax for 4 years is already in place.

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(Photo: Reuters / )
A shopkeeper reaches for a packet of cigarettes in a newsagent in London November 28, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
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