Date: Sunday 01, 2006
Organisation: ASH New Zealand
Keywords: New Zealand policy legislation public support implementation evaluation
Going Smokefree in New Zealand: Lessons from the Battlefield
To identify and assess the key strategies in support of the passage of the Smoke-free Environments Amendment Act 2003 which banned smoking in all indoor workplaces, including bars, restaurants, cafes, clubs, casinos and gaming venues; and the arguments advanced by those who opposed the legislation.
Fifteen individuals and agencies that had taken leadership roles in the passage of the Act were interviewed – including those who opposed smokefree indoor environments. Those interviewed were asked what strategies were used to aid or hinder the passage of the 2003 Act, who they thought the key proponents and opponents were, and
what barriers, hurdles or challenges were faced. Eleven face-to-face interviews were conducted, and four telephone interviews.
Supporters of the legislation emphasised the health effects of exposure to second- hand smoke, the right of workers to have a safe workplace, and the success of similar legislation enacted overseas. Opponents said that hospitality venues would lose business, the ban would be impossible to enforce, and ventilation of venues was an alternative means of protecting health. Factors in the successful passage of the 2003 Act included its strong political support and the highly co-ordinated non-government sector. The time lag between the introduction of the legislation and its passage and implementation was also useful as it gave the public time to become accustomed to the idea of smokefree bars and restaurants. Opponents appeared to be effective in delaying the passage of the legislation and created challenges for its passage by proposing lesser measures.
There are strategies that can be used to increase the likelihood that smokefree indoor workplaces legislation will be enacted. New Zealand benefited from overseas experiences, and was therefore able to anticipate and address issues raised by opponents. The New Zealand strategy may in turn serve as a guide for legislative change in other countries.