Council, 12 November 2020.


Local councils have wide-ranging duties and powers to improve, promote and protect public health. Section 11 of the Local Government Act2002 mandates Territorial Authorities to promote the social, economic, environment, and cultural wellbeing of communities in the present and for the future; and to improve, promote, and protect public health within its district as stated in section 23 of the Health Act 1956.

The New Zealand Government agreed to a longer-term goal of reducing smoking prevalence and availability to minimal levels, making the country essentially a smokefree nation by 2025(external link).  The Government passed the Smokefree and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020 and amended the previous Smokefree Environments Act 1990. The legislation extends regulatory coverage to include all vaping products and smokeless tobacco devices in New Zealand.

The Christchurch City Council supports the Government’s efforts to prevent the normalisation of vaping and to reduce the exposure of non-smokers to any detrimental health effects caused by smoking.

The Council will proactively demonstrate leadership by promoting a smokefree and vapefree lifestyle as being both desirable and normal in Christchurch.  Having a smokefree and vapefree environment helps support the health and wellbeing of Christchurch residents and reduces health risks to non-smokers or non-vapers, thus promoting healthier public spaces for everyone to enjoy.

This policy will contribute to the Council’s aim of creating ‘safer and healthier communities’ by ensuring and promoting a healthy environment to meet the current and future needs of the Christchurch community.


The policy aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Christchurch residents by reducing the prevalence of smoking and vaping. By focusing on providing smokefree and vapefree messaging in Council-owned, managed, maintained or controlled outdoor public places and assets. The Council will send a positive message that our children and young people’s health and the environment should be protected from the effects of smoking and vaping.

The Council seeks to achieve its objectives in a way that would not unduly infringe the ability of others to smoke or vape in outdoor public places should they want to. The policy is promoted as voluntary and non-regulatory where people can choose to comply in the spirit of promoting healthy lifestyle choices. This educative policy discourages smoking or vaping in public outdoor places where people particularly children and young people gather.  

Policy scope

The policy focuses on the reduction of smoking uptake and de-normalisation of the use of vaping products and tobacco by encouraging people not to smoke or vape in designated smokefree and vapefree outdoor public places and assets owned, managed, maintained or controlled by the Council. 

Key smokefree and vapefree areas

The Council’s smokefree and vapefree policy applies to the following outdoor public places within the Christchurch District where people are asked not to smoke or vape:

  • Neighbourhood parks
  • Gardens and heritage parks
  • Reserves
  • Sports parks
  • Playgrounds
  • Bus passenger shelters
  • Primary entrances and exits of Council buildings and facilities (e.g. libraries, recreation and sports centres)
  • Licenced footpaths for outdoor dining use
  • Council events (Council-led, supported or funded events)

Smokefree and vapefree messages, as well as smoking cessation support services, are promoted at Council-organised or supported events.  External organisations are encouraged to promote smokefree/vapefree events when using Council designated smokefree and vapefree areas.

Policy detail

All Council smokefree public places are also vape-free areas.

This policy is not a ban on smoking or vaping in a public place, but is more about encouraging compliance in the spirit of promoting healthy lifestyle choices.

Relevant Council units such as Parks, Recreation and Sports, Events, Public Information & Participation, Transport, Facilities, Property and Planning, and Community Support, Governance & Partnerships are jointly responsible in implementing the policy.

Implementation of the policy takes a non-regulatory approach to support individual choices for leading a healthy lifestyle. It relies on smokefree/vapefree signage and messaging made available to the general public via the Council’s website, social media, lobby or events screens, wayfinding, and across other communications channels and platforms.  

Wherever possible and appropriate, signage will be installed to indicate smokefree/vapefree zones. Smokefree/vapefree signs will be integrated into the Council’s replacement, renewal and upgrading signage programme, or Way Finding in parks, playgrounds and other Council-owned and managed outdoor public areas. These signs will be displayed where it is determined they will be most effective.  Signs may not be appropriate in remote locations where there is low usage and/or undue exposure to the elements, or where there is a need for hazard-type signage, which takes priority over smokefree/vapefree signage in the area (e.g. cliff dangers).

Council-run events and events taking place on Council-owned land will promote no smoking and vaping messaging through the use of banners and/or PA announcements.

Information and education
The Council will work with the Smokefree Canterbury member organisations (Canterbury District Health Board through Community and Public Health and Cancer Society) to ensure development of a Smokefree and Vapefree Communications Plan.

The Council will work collaboratively with partners to make sure that information relating to this Smokefree and Vapefree Public Places Policy, and the health impacts of smoking and vaping, are easily accessible to the community and will be communicated to the public.  Smokefree/vapefree messaging on signage and across other communications will focus encouraging compliance in the spirit of promoting healthy lifestyle choices. 

This policy is educative, self-policing and no fines will be used against those who breach the policy. Compliance with the policy is entirely voluntary and it would not be enforced by Council staff. 

Users of Council smokefree/vapefree areas

Businesses or organisations using Council-owned, managed, maintained, or controlled lands, footpaths or facilities designated as smokefree/vapefree public spaces are encouraged to observe this Council policy.  If businesses/organisations want to implement a smokefree and vapefree policy, they can seek support from Community and Public Health and the Cancer Society to access smokefree/vapefree signs or stickers.

Associate procedure

As partners of the investigation, development and implementation of the policy, Smokefree Canterbury member organisations (Community and Public Health and Cancer Society) will be involved in the monitoring and evaluation of the policy.




Bus passenger shelter

Partly enclosed weather protection structures for waiting bus passengers placed on the legal road reserve.


Means the Christchurch City Council.

Council parks

Neighbourhood parks that are generally small and provide places for informal recreation and small scale community events and facilities.  They form part of a network of open space that includes walkways and cycleways.

Garden and heritage parks

These parks vary in size and have a significant place in our natural and cultural heritage.  Garden and heritage parks also play a significant role in support the Garden City image of Christchurch.


Outdoor playgrounds provide places for recreation and play.

Public places

Means an area that is open to or used by the public, and which is owned, managed, maintained or controlled by the Council. 

Public places include, but are not limited to: roads, streets, footpaths, alleys, pedestrian malls, cycle tracks, lanes, accessways, thoroughfares, squares, car parks, reserves, parks, beaches, foreshore, riverbanks, berms, verges, and recreational grounds.


The Council manages regional parks that are large open spaces, mostly on the urban fringe that protect and enhance scenic, cultural and environmental values.

Smokefree and vapefree areas

Public spaces identified as key smokefree and vapefree areas where the use of vaping products and smoke tobacco are discouraged.

Sports parks

These parks which are generally large, green areas, enable people to participate in organised sport and other forms of active and passive recreation.