Over 800 restaurants in Auckland have banned smoking from their outdoor dining areas. Hundreds of outdoor dining licences have been renewed to ensure that outdoor dining areas are smokefree as part of the Council’s wider aim to make Auckland smokefree by 2025.

“Smokefree al fresco dining areas are a health benefit to serving staff and smokers trying to quit as well as providing a healthy and clean environment for customers of our many great hospitality venues,” said Councillor Penny Hulse, who also serves as the chairperson of the council’s environment and community committee. “This is a proactive and tangible way for the council to endorse the smokefree message and denormalise smoking in our public spaces.”

The move is supported by the Cancer Society, with health promotion manager Kristina Marckearn saying that secondhand smoking in outdoor dining areas is “a real risk”.

“Smokefree al fresco areas will be a breath of fresh air for our cafes, bars and restaurants and will help to protect the health of all Aucklanders, especially hospitality workers,” she said.

However, the Restaurant Association has spoken out against the change.

“I’ve heard from members who said they have been affected by it and have seen a decrease in revenue,” said CEO Marisa Bidois. “One business in particular is in a spot where it gets people coming in after work for drinks and they used to sit outside, quite a few of them were smokers, and [the owner] noticed a big downturn since changes have come in.”

At this stage there are no plans for fines for those who breach the terms of the licence,  but enforcement would work on a warning basis.