Whangarei Cafes 
Fresh Air success​

Ninety-four percent of Whangarei CBD and Quayside café customers supported smokefree outdoor dining according to customer feedback.

The information was collected part of the The Fresh Air Project Whangarei, a 3-month smokefree outdoor dining pilot, during which 10 new cafes became smoke free, adding to the 14 cafes that were smokefree before the promotion.

“One customer said it was a lot nicer to dine here now (this café has gone smokefree). They said they will stop in more often and her children could eat in a cleaner environment,” said Northland District Health Board smokefree coordinator Bridget Rowse.

“Another said it was a great initiative all outdoor eating spaces should be smokefree.”

Ms Rowse said the smokefree outdoor dining pilot was designed to allow the public to experience the benefits of smokefree outdoor dining.

“The benefits of smokefree outdoor dining extend beyond the smoker to customers and staff. Dining outside is nicer, when you don’t have smoke around you.  Second-hand smoke isn’t just unpleasant, it poses a real health risk which customers and cafe staff shouldn’t have to be exposed to.  It is also good for business as Smokefree outdoor dining attracts more families, and improves the overall dining experience for visitors.”

Ms Rowse said 72 percent of customer’s said they were more likely to visit a cafe again because they offered smokefree outdoor dining.

Mayor Sheryl Mai said she was proud to see how many Whangarei cafes had participated in the pilot and then chosen to remain smokefree outdoors.

“It is wonderful that local cafes took part in The Fresh Air Project Whangarei to enable patrons to enjoy outdoor dining without a side of smoke.  It meant they had the benefit of trialing the programme with the support of other businesses and organisations, for long enough to see how it affected the bottom line and customer feedback.”

Jim Callaghan, Cancer Society Northland congratulated the cafes for getting involved and supporting a smokefree future.

“We were initially concerned that cafes might be reluctant to get on board, but the opposite was true. The cafe owners we spoke to really ‘got it’.  They could see the benefits that being involved would provide to both their customers and their bottom line,” says Mr Callaghan.

The Fresh Air Project Whangarei was based on a similar successful pilot run in Christchurch in 2017.  The Whangarei pilot ran for three months. The pilot has been evaluated by Northland District Health Board and Cancer Society Northland.


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