Healthy Families Hutt Valley has always had a focus on increasing smokefree environments as a way of denormalising smoking. 

Our shared vision is a future where our community spaces are all smokefree, where our children don’t see smoking and aren’t exposed to secondhand smoke.

It is important for the Hutt Valley to show leadership in smokefree environments, because more people in the Hutt Valley smoke compared to the national average, and for some of our communities the smoking rates are almost double the national rate.

In 2019, Hutt City Council extended their current Smokefree Outdoor Public Places Policy so that all current spaces are smokefree as well as vapefree, and designated the Lower Hutt CBD and all suburban town centres smokefree and vapefree.

We want to create a smokefree and vapefree Hutt Valley, so people from our two cities can benefit from smokefree and vapefree places that we visit across the Hutt Valley.

As we continue to support Hutt City Council with embedding their Smokefree Outdoor Public Places Policy, we have also scaled into Upper Hutt. 

We are taking the learnings and experiences of leading the journey towards a Smokefree Lower Hutt and working with Upper Hutt City Council on creating a smokefree and vapefree Upper Hutt.

In partnership, and with funding from Hutt Valley District Health Board, we created a new role to work within Upper Hutt City Council on their journey to a smokefree and vapefree Upper Hutt.

Andrea Curtis, the Healthy Families Hutt Valley Systems Innovator working within Upper Hutt City Council, has worked closely with staff on engaging their perspectives.

“More than 100 staff participated using surveys and a focus group. It was really important that staff views, especially those from staff that smoke or vape, were included as they are a key part of putting any successful policy into action.

“To gain community views we also did a survey and engaged through existing community groups and settings, this included the places many of our people spend their time at like the Cossie Club, the Women’s Centre, a Pharmacy, a Medical Centre, a supermarket and the Marae to name a few.

“Focus groups were held with teen parents, parks staff and people who vape through a specialist vape store. Our role was to engage with community to gain a deep understanding of their views before drafting a policy that built on the existing Smokefree Parks Policy.
 
“Through all the engagement we’ve found that there is a high level of support for more smokefree and vapefree public spaces across Upper Hutt. We are grateful for the time and insights all our participants shared with us.

“The quality of this engagement has ensured we’re taking steps that our communities are supportive of.”
 
The next step is for the draft policy and recommendations paper to be presented at an Upper Hutt City Council meeting, the date of which is yet to be confirmed due to the Council responding to Covid-19.

Imagine if our community spaces were all smokefree, where our children don’t see smoking and aren’t exposed to secondhand smoke.