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First NZ smokefree outdoor dining trial underway

From today, smoking is off the menu at twenty Christchurch cafes.

It is part of the first formal trial of smokefree outdoor dining in New Zealand.

'The Fresh Air Project' is the first formal trial of smokefree outdoor dining in New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

"We signed up because it really isn't cool anymore to light up when you're sitting in a busy garden," said Under the Red Verandah cafe owner Amanda Heasley.

"We get really busy here and I'm a grandma, so I hate to see someone light up beside a baby or other children so we just thought it was time."

For the next six months they've pledged to make their outdoor areas completely smoke free, which has approval from regulars.

Under the Red Verandah owner Amanda Heasley said it's the right time to go smokefree for outdoor dining at her cafe. Source: 1 NEWS

"It does invade your space a wee bit when you're sitting down with other people so I think it's a great initiative," Martin Anderson said.

"At the end of the day they [smokers] have just as much right to sit outside and smoke as we have to sit outside smoke free but they have to be considerate of other people's health – it's not fair on us to be subjected to that smell and health risk," Angela Moir said.

'Wind can blow smoke inside'

Aptly named 'The Fresh Air Project,' the pilot scheme is about improving the health of cafe goers and staff.

"There's obvious benefits by not smoking, we know that second hand smoke is harmful - even on a day when you're outside the wind can blow the smoke inside," Canterbury Cancer Society's Martin Witt said.

It is a move backed by the Canterbury District Health Board and Christchurch City Council as a step towards the Government's goal of New Zealand being smokefree by 2025.

Blakely tells Breakfast that banning smoking in public places has created 'social segregation'. Source: Breakfast

Christchurch City Council has had a smoke free policy in place at all council-owned parks, playgrounds and sports fields since 2009.

Last year it resolved to extend that policy to the main entrances and exits of council buildings and facilities and to council bus passenger shelters.

All New Zealand cafes and restaurants went smokefree indoors in 2004. Palmerston North City Council has a bylaw for smokefree outdoor dining on council footpaths.

Businesses there, that place tables and chairs on footpaths, have to remove ashtrays from outdoor dining areas and replace them with smokefree signage.

Feedback on the Christchurch cafe pilot will be assessed in six months' time.