Council made the decision after considering 223 written and oral submissions. Around 80% of the submitters supported making smokefree areas vapefree also.
Smokefree and vapefree areas include city centre streets, public events, and parks and playgrounds.
Council has no powers to enforce the policy, so it is not a ban. Instead, the policy encourages people to refrain from smoking and vaping. The policy continues to be an education tool, with the use of signs.
The policy responds to government efforts to make Aotearoa smokefree by 2025, and contributes to Council's goal to be a connected community.
"The previous policy was silent on vaping as it was not an identified issue when the policy was first introduced," says David Murphy, Council's acting General Manager, Strategy and Planning. "However vaping has become more prevalent within the community, and this policy responds to that change."
Nuisance issues raised by submitters were about the smell and the vapour discharged from vaping, and the impact it has on the level of enjoyment in public outdoor areas.
The large volume of vapour discharged from vaping was a common complaint. Some submitters were more tolerant of cigarette smoke due to a smaller volume of smoke created.
Submitters were also divided on the smell of vaping, with some noting they find the perfumed odour from vaping more tolerable than cigarette odour. Others find the odours from vaping equally, if not more, distasteful as smoking odour.
Other issues considered through the submission process were rights and freedoms, normalisation – young people imitating, and health and wellbeing.
The Smokefree and Vapefree reference group will lead the policy's implementation. It includes representatives from Cancer Society New Zealand Central Districts Division, Midcentral DHB and Council.
A copy of the policy is available on our website and is available to view at the Customer Service Centre, Te Marae o Hine.