INVERCARGILL’S CBD is to become a smokefree zone.
The Invercargill City Council (ICC) adopted its Smokefree Areas Policy at a meeting on Tuesday, banning smoking, e-cigarettes and vaping, in the area of Tay St to Spey St and Deveron St to Dee St, including Wachner Place. Signs would be erected reminding people of the policy.
ICC policy analyst Anna Goble said because it was a policy rather than a bylaw, it was not enforceable and fines would not be issued to those breaching it, but it would give members of the public the ability to ask someone smoking in the designated area to move elsewhere to smoke.
The council could not establish a bylaw because it was legal to smoke in New Zealand, she said.
The ICC decided to pursue the proposal to make the inner city smokefree following surveys conducted by the Invercargill City Youth Council and WellSouth, and consultation with Public Health South, Healthy Families and the Cancer Society.
Miss Goble said it was called a Smokefree Areas Policy rather than a CBD policy to allow the council to include other areas over time.
Staff of businesses in the CBD would be allowed to smoke at the back of their premises as long as it was out of view of the public eye, she said.
Miss Goble said the council decided to include e-cigarettes and vaporizers in the policy because, although it was not tobacco, e-cigarettes had the appearance of cigarettes and small children could mimic the behaviour.
LNB Vape directors Brenden Maere and Allister Sands opened a vaping supply shop in Esk St two months ago.
Mr Maere said vaping should not have been included in the policy.
“It is not smoking.”
Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling water vapour produced by an electric device called vaporizer (or e-cigarette).
Mr Maere said vape chemicals turned into a vapour rather than burning like cigarettes, and a vaporizer was not held in the same way as a cigarette.
Vaping was a healthier option to smoking. Cigarettes contained about 7000 chemicals, whereas there were only four chemicals in vaping – nicotine, flavour extract and non-toxic organic compounds Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG), he said.
“Every person should have the right to do what they want. Aren’t we a country of free rights? We can choose what we want to do.”