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Smoking is off the menu

Outdoor dining goes smokefree

Published: 19 October 2018

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Outdoor dining goes smokefree in Auckland.

Smoking is disappearing from outdoor areas of restaurants, cafes and bars across Auckland as more than 800 outdoor dining licences are being renewed with a proviso to be smokefree.

The move is part of Auckland Council’s Smokefree policy and will apply to all hospitality venues that use council-licensed areas for al fresco dining and drinking.

The outdoor dining restrictions have been introduced progressively as licenses are renewed. Most have now been renewed.

Chairperson of the council’s Environment and Community Committee Councillor Penny Hulse says the change is part of a commitment to be a healthier smokefree city by 2025.

“Smokefree al fresco dining areas are a health benefit to serving staff and smokers trying to quit as well as providing a healthy and clean environment for customers of our many great hospitality venues,” says Hulse.

“This is a proactive and tangible way for the council to endorse the smokefree message and denormalise smoking in our public spaces."

The Cancer Society Auckland Northland’s Health Promotion Manager, Kristina Marckean, applauds the move and says the council is acting in the interests of the health and wellbeing of all Aucklanders.

“Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable cancer in Auckland and this will help to reduce its devastating impact on families, communities and the environment.

“Research shows us that exposure to second-hand smoke in outdoor dining areas is a real risk. Smokefree al fresco areas will be a breath of fresh air for our cafes, bars and restaurants and will help to protect the health of all Aucklanders, especially hospitality workers,” Ms Marckean says.

Auckland Council research shows that 90 per cent of Aucklanders would be more likely or as likely to visit an outdoor dining area if it was smokefree.

Orvieto Café in Three Kings has a large outdoor dining area which has been smokefree for nearly two years. Its owner, Brad Meiklejohn, says it’s been a popular move with patrons.

“Our customers have been absolutely stoked with our smokefree outdoor dining area. They were thanking us for doing it! It’s a great move by the council to implement this citywide.

“Smoking has become less and less acceptable and I think hospitality venues would actually lose customers if smoking was to continue in outdoor dining areas,” Mr Meiklejohn says.

The council is working with cafes, restaurants and bars offering them free signage and other tools to assist with the implementation of the new smokefree requirement.

Its street trading inspectors are monitoring compliance and helping to explain the new policy as part of their usual inspection work.

Smokefree outdoor dining facts:

  • A 2016 survey of more than 800 Aucklanders found that 90 per cent were more likely or as likely to visit if an outdoor dining area is Smokefree.
  • The same survey found that around three-quarters of Aucklanders were supportive of smokefree outdoor eating areas.
  • All Australian states have smokefree outdoor dining legislation.
  • Research shows that patrons and staff are exposed to harmful levels of second-hand smoke in outdoor dining areas.
  • Around 5000 New Zealanders die every year because of smoking or second-hand smoke exposure. 

For more information on smokefree outdoor dining areas visit