Community & Environment

Vaping now a no-no in city’s smokefree areas

Vaping has been added to smoking as a prohibited activity in smokefree sections of Hamilton.

Hamilton City Council’s Community Committee yesterday (29 September) voted unanimously to recommend an updated Smokefree Outdoor Areas Policy to the Council for adoption.

The policy identifies areas of the city where smoking – and now also vaping – are not allowed.

Council staff worked with Waikato District Health Board and the Cancer Society on the updated policy, which has a strong educational focus.

Cr Mark Bunting, Chair of the Community Committee, says it is vital the Council and DHB continue collaborating to safeguard the health and wellbeing of Hamiltonians.

“The tobacco companies, they don’t give up when it comes to making money. They will prey on our society, so we need to work together as best we can.

“We take restricting people’s behaviour very seriously and we wouldn’t take a step of this significance without strong evidence,” Cr Bunting says.

The staff report to the Committee noted that vaping is becoming increasingly popular: “Whilst vaping has been used by some smokers as a way to transition into non-smoking, vaping has become increasingly used by those that have never smoked, especially young people.”

Staff proposed adding some areas around Waikato Hospital to the policy at the recommendation of the DHB. These areas had previously been excluded from the policy, with any rules around smoking and vaping managed by the DHB.

However, councillors decided these areas should remain outside the policy at the moment, referring to a recommendation from Coroner Wallace Bain that DHBs make provision for at-risk patients to smoke in a safe environment.

Yesterday’s Committee meeting also considered a report on leasing Beale Cottage, Hamilton’s oldest house, to a commercial tenant.

Beale Cottage is on Beale St in Hamilton East and was originally owned by Dr Bernard Charles Beale, who was Hamilton Mayor from March to December 1880. The house has previously been leased as a residence and is currently untenanted.

The Committee voted to put the process of seeking a commercial tenant on hold and asked staff to contact Waikato University and Wintec about temporarily using the cottage as an arts space.

Staff were asked to report back to the Committee in February 2021 on future uses of the building that align to the current review of the Hamilton Heritage Plan.

Also in the Committee meeting, the Hamilton Gardens Development Project Governance Group provided advice on continuing to develop the Gardens in a prudent fashion.

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