Written by Staff Writer
The small but still diverse city of Christchurch in New Zealand’s South Island has announced its plan to ban smoking in enclosed public spaces for adults.
Next year it will be among the first towns in the nation to attempt to exclude smokers from their own homes.
The Mayor of Christchurch, Lianne Dalziel, told CNN on Monday that the proposed ban will exclude smoking in cars and workplaces and may see future “who can smoke” days being phased out altogether.
The move has been welcomed by health activists.
“This is an incredibly important announcement for Christchurch, for New Zealand and for the world,” Steph Harvey, the Executive Director of the Cancer Society New Zealand said in a statement, “but will be only one of many small positive steps that all of us can take in 2021.”
Christchurch is one of the first regions in New Zealand to decide on a tobacco ban. Credit: Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
Harvey said it’s “quite a good step” and called for similar bans to be brought in on a national and international scale to “help the millions of New Zealanders who smoke to kick their habit.”
Smoking rates in the country are hovering around 16%, according to statistics from the New Zealand government.
“We can all agree that smoking is a preventable health problem,” said Dalziel, “and that reducing its impact in our community is one of our major challenges.”
The city’s decision to ban smoking comes after a period of significant controversy in Christchurch.
The city suffered significant damage after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit in September 2011 and the death toll from the tragedy stood at 185 people at the time of writing.