Why are we running this pilot?

Smokefree outdoor dining is the only way to protect staff and customers from the harmful effects of second hand smoke drift and has strong public support. You can see more about our reasons by clicking on the 'Our story' tab on the home page. 

Is smokefree outdoor dining happening elsewhere

Yes, there are already venues in Christchurch and elsewhere in New Zealand that have gone totally smokefree. There is growing support from businesses who want to offer the most enjoyable dining experience possible for their customers.

What is so unique about this pilot?

Great progress is being made in other regions, but this pilot is the first time that a group of venues will all be supported to go totally smokefree at the same time. The pilot will be monitored and evaluated throughout the six month period. 

What about the rights of  smokers?

The pilot is not about “banning” smoking and being negative to smokers. It is encouraging customers to refrain from smoking whilst at the venue and contribute towards a cleaner, greener dining environment.  All participating venues have chosen to promote their businesses as totally smokefree to reflect what the majority of customers want. 

In practise how will the pilot work?

Smokers are simply asked to refrain from smoking whilst at the venue. Experience from elsewhere is that smokers rarely object to these respectful requests.

How can I encourage my favourite hospitality venue to become totally smokefree?

Christchurch has an amazing selection of hospitality venues. If you have a favourite place that would be even better totally smokefree, simply say how great it would be if their outside area was smokefree and ask them to contact the Cancer Society to find out more about going totally smokefree. Please see the contact tab for how to reach us. 

What will happen after the pilot? 

We are confident that once a venue goes totally smokefree they will want to remain so. Next year we aim to support more venues to make their outside dining areas smokefree and contribute to the vision for a smokefree city. 

Questions from a business perspective:


Are smokefree outdoor areas business friendly?

Yes! International research shows that businesses can actually benefit from going smokefree.

After all, only15% of New Zealanders still smoke, meaning your venue will appeal to the 85% of New Zealanders who don’t smoke.

But what about visitors?

Visitors to New Zealand already respect our smokefree laws and council policies. There is nothing to suggest making outdoor dining areas smokefree will be any different.  After bars and restaurants became smokefree in 2004, business actually improved!

Can we have a designated smoking area instead? 

The short answer is no. A designated smoking area will still:

A 100% smokefree policy is actually less complicated easier to manage and easier to promote.

My staff smoke, will they be forced to quit?

No one will be forced to quit however going totally smokefree may prompt smoking staff to think about quitting. If staff do want to quit, we can help them find out more. If staff want to smoke they need to be clear where they can still smoke i.e. off premise or well away from customers where smoke will not drift into the outdoor dining area.

What happens if a customer wants to smoke?     

No one wants to confront their own customers, so we recommend that you have:

Experience has taught us that smokers will support smokefree areas, if they are adequately signed and communicated. Smokefree signs make it clear from the start that it is a smokefree area.

What is the Smokefree New Zealand 2025 goal?

The Government has set a goal for less than 5% of the population will smoke by 2025. Smokefree outdoor dining will help achieve this goal by making smoking in public less normal. More smokefree areas reduce exposure to second hand smoke, encourage people to quit and help those trying to quit to stay smokefree.

What about E-cigarettes and vaping?

E-cigarettes when used give the impression of smoking and for that reason they are treated the same as tobacco in the pilot and are also excluded.

Is this pilot supported by Christchurch City Council?

Yes. The pilot is being run by the Cancer Society and Canterbury District Health Board but also has the full support of the Council.