The Octagon could become a smoke free area following support for a proposal to ban the activity from local businesses. Smokefree Otago has surveyed surround Dunedin businesses who recorded 73 percent of businesses wanting to ban smoking.
The proposal comes following a study conducted by the University of Otago and Massey University suggesting that extending smoking bans in outdoor bar areas could curb social smoking.
Social smoking is said to be a unique activity from regular smoking whereby the practice is justified by its limitation to social occasions. As a result alcohol acts as a stimulant to social smoking, according to the recent study.
The widespread practice of primarily smoking while drinking at bars has been met with contempt from most local citizens, with one Dunedin resident saying he “hates it”. The local man who wished to be only named as John said he now avoids taking his kids towards the area as the smoke can pollute the entire area.
“I actually hate it to be honest. One thing I try not to do is take my kids around [to the Octagon] when people start drinking. Usually at about 5pm onwards you start to get the smoke smell wherever you go within the whole area.”
“It makes it worse where it’s happening because there is family stuff around the Octagon, the movies are there, some good restaurants,” says the local resident.
The Government currently has a plan to make New Zealand Smokefree by 2025, which according to the recent study could be assisted by a placing restrictions on social smoking in outdoor areas of bars.