Our smokefree policy allows us to comply with smokefree legislation, and promote a smokefree lifestyle to all members of the school community. This policy applies to all smoking and vaping products, including e-cigarettes.
The Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 (and its amendment in 2003) directs that all buildings and grounds are smokefree, 24 hours a day, seven days a week (with no exemptions). The education provisions in the Act aim to:
- prevent the exposure of children and young people to second-hand smoke
- prevent children and young people being influenced by seeing others smoke
- send a positive message about a smokefree lifestyle as the norm.
The Act applies to anyone on the school grounds, including students, staff, visiting parents, contractors, and people hiring or using the school facilities outside school hours.
To comply with the legislation, schools must ensure that everyone coming on to the school site is aware that the entire grounds are smokefree at all times. This means:
- displaying Smokefree signs at every entrance to the school grounds and the outer entrance of every building
- advising contractors and other people working at school of our smokefree policy
- communicating the policy to parents through the newsletter and other means
- ensuring that people hiring or using the school facilities are aware of the policy and accept that there are no exemptions and that it applies 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- having a procedure for breaches of the policy.
Failure to take these steps may result in the management of the school being fined up to $4,000 for non-compliance. It isn't smoking that is the breach – it's failure to take the steps above.
Promoting a smokefree lifestyle
Smoking is the single most preventable cause of premature death and ill-health in New Zealand, and most people who take up smoking do so by the age of 18.
Exposure to second-hand smoke (passive smoking) affects the health of non-smokers, especially babies and children. Recent studies have shown that, in addition to causing health problems for children, exposure to second-hand smoking affects a child's behaviour and ability to learn.
Children who receive consistent messages (see role models below) and grow up in a smokefree environment are less likely to smoke. Our school aims to reduce smoking uptake among students and work towards a smokefree society through:
- We prominently display our smokefree policy in the staffroom and the public area of the office.
- We display Smokefree signs and ask anyone smoking to stop.
- We do not provide ashtrays or smoking areas.
- We educate students through the curriculum about the harmful effects of smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke.
- Where possible, we provide staff with smokefree-related professional development.
- We communicate our smokefree policy to the school community via the newsletter and other means, and promote Quit Smoking programmes as appropriate.
- We inform parents of new entrants, and prospective employees, of our school’s smokefree policy.
- Young people are more likely to start smoking if they see adults smoking.
- We promote all school activities outside of our school’s premises as smokefree, e.g. EOTC activities and sporting events, and remind parent helpers that they must not smoke or vape while transporting or looking after students.
- We regularly remind current employees of the policy and ask them to ensure they cannot be seen smoking by students even when they are off the school grounds.
- There is no smoking or vaping anywhere at school at any time.
- Parents are encouraged to embrace a smokefree lifestyle.
Breaches of the smokefree policy
Students found smoking in or around school are offered appropriate counselling and education. Parents are contacted and encouraged to deal with the smoking as a health issue rather than a discipline issue.
Adults smoking in or around school environment will be reminded that the school is smokefree by law and asked to stop smoking or leave the premises.
All complaints involving smoking are referred to the principal, who may pass these to the board of trustees for investigation. Investigations take place within 20 working days of the complaint or incident and follow the procedures laid down in the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990.
- Smoke-free Environments Act 1990
- Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020
- Smokefree Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Act 2020