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No smokefree signs at New Zealand racecourses, study shows


Friday, 27 October 2017


A survey of New Zealand racecourses and sports grounds with stands has found no smokefree signs at the racecourses and signage at less than half the sports grounds.

The study by researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington, of 25 racecourses and 25 sports grounds from Auckland to Southland, was published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

Associate Professor George Thomson says such venues provide an important opportunity for smokefree policies, as people can be close together on the stands. The often large crowds also mean smokefree policies can help to “denormalise” smoking.

The public health researchers found that in cases where there were signs present, their quality was variable, with some of the references to smoking buried in long lists of fine print.

Researchers noticed some smoke free signs were not visible enough to the public.

Thomson says that as local authorities own many of the sports grounds, there is an opportunity to ensure smokefree policies are clearly communicated across all their outdoor venues.

“However, having a national smokefree law for all public venues with outdoor seating would be much more likely to be consistently effective across the whole country.”

“The experience of smokefree school grounds, as well as of regulations in many overseas jurisdictions, shows us that such a nationwide law could work well in New Zealand, and could significantly help smokers to quit,” he says.

Thomson G, Wilson N. Smokefree signage at New Zealand racecourses and sports facilities with outdoor stands New Zealand Medical Journal 2017.

For more information and copies of the publication, contact:

Associate Professor George Thomson
Department of Public Health
University of Otago, Wellington

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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