Hanmer Springs first New Zealand town to become smoke and vapefree

A small Canterbury town is set to become New Zealand's first smokefree town.

Hanmer Springs starts its six month smokefree and vapefree trial on Thursday.

The village already asks that people do not smoke in parks, playgrounds and reserves however, this trial will add to this by encouraging people to keep key public spaces such as the main street, Amuri Avenue and Conical Hill Road smokefree and vape free.  

"This trial helps to set a good example for children and protects our community's health and the beautiful environment Hanmer Springs is known for," Hurunui Councillor and local business owner Jason Fletcher says. 

The trial is a joint initiative by the Cancer Society, Canterbury District Health Board and the Hanmer Springs Community Board and is supported by the Hurunui District Council. 

A 2018 survey saw 63 percent of local businesses supported the concept of a smokefree zone. 

"Smokefree and vape free is healthy for everyone," local business owner Alice Stielow says.

"While the trial is not a ban, we want people to take the message seriously and make a positive choice to keep public spaces smokefree and vape free," Cancer Society Health Promotion Advisor Cheryl Ford says.

Signage and information will be made available so residents and tourists know where the zones are. 

The community will also have the opportunity to provide feedback on whether they would like the trial to become a permanent feature.