The Lower Hutt council is enforcing a prohibition of smoking in heavily populated public areas.
“It’s not about persecuting smokers,” maintained one such councillor (which, ironically, seems to be exactly what it’s about), “it’s about clean air, and our goal to be a smoke-free New Zealand by 2025.”
While this new ruling – not law, it’s just a rule – might be beneficial for a group of bedraggled bus shelter dwellers shielding themselves from the rain while waiting for the bus, who will now not have to put up with the inconsiderate smoker beside them demonstrating his attempt at consideration by blowing smoke upwards into the air but which simply collects in the shelter roof before drifting back down on everyone, for others, it is a decided imposition…
I wonder what makes a New Zealand local council think it has the right to instruct New Zealanders how to act in places other than local council buildings?
…Indeed one Lower Hutt bar owner is predicting this new ruling will cost him over half his business, as the section of his clientele who once would congregate on the footpath outside the bar in his ‘designated smoking area’ is now told they are no longer welcome to smoke their cigarettes on the street…
It’s this bloody ‘smoke free by 2025’ mantra that’s causing all the fuss and which I am certain when it was coined by the Right Honourable Uncle John a few years back was ’…2050’, but seems to have since been given a hurry along.
…These patrons will likely now do their socialising elsewhere because if there is one thing I learned during my almost 15 years as a smoker, smokers like to be able to smoke.
Prohibiting cigarettes inside bars was one thing: that was intended to protect the wellbeing of other people, but banning people’s beloved cancer-sticks inside their own little worlds – officials in Lower Hutt are clearly overstepping their authority and this is likely an attempt to gain favour with some other, perhaps less official, groups…
Smoking in cars, although not currently illegal, is certainly a frowned upon practise; just as it is supposedly ‘prohibited’ to smoke on footpaths outside hospital grounds, but surely, it is our right as people of the free world to do and act largely as we please.
…What’s next then – is someone going to try and ban smokers from lighting up in front of their own TV, in their own lounge?
Article by Tim Walker
Edited by Pru Hibby-Ushon
Photography by Stapp Tufar