Youth council helps smoke-free policy update

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JACK.CONROY@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

A group of young leaders is out to gauge public opinion in Clutha over the question of smoke-free zones.

In 2011, the Clutha District Council enacted a policy that ensured the district’s public parks, playgrounds and sports grounds would be free of smoke.

The Clutha Youth Council has now come up with a survey which its hopes will uncover whether the public would like to extend that measure to include further public spaces.

Blue Mountain College youth council member Luke Thompson (17) said part of the effort was to find out whether the public was aware of the current status of smoke-free zones in the region, and what they wanted to happen next.

‘‘That gives us a bit of an idea to go on,’’ he said.

The youth council also wanted to see what people thought about vaping, he said.

Some of the areas proposed for new non›smoking zones included in the survey would be outdoor public areas near council buildings and facilities, outdoor dining and drinking areas on footpaths, and beaches.

Council community development adviser Jean Proctor said the survey results would be compiled and discussed by the youth councillors, who would then come up with a policy.

‘‘There will be discussion over the summer period before they meet again in February, and then they will submit to the council long term plan process to have the policy adopted and included.’’

The youth council had been ‘‘instrumental’’ in leading the charge on the survey, she said.
Responses were required by the end of the month.

‘‘That means we get out there and get it happening.’’

Early respondents, comprising several schools, service providers and businesses, had largely supported moves to extend smoke-free zones, she said.

Mr Thompson said a possible next step from the youth council could be a poster and billboard campaign to make the public aware of current smoke-free zones and any upcoming changes.