Last updated 8 December 2005                                                                         for a printer-friendly version:      pubs23aug05.pdf      

The trend to smokefree workplaces, smokefree pubs, and away from pubs, to cafés



Figure 1. Proportion of workers exposed to second-hand smoke 1989- 2005

Workers Exposed to Secondhand Smoke 89 - 05

Note the marked decreases in the wake of: 

(1)   the Smokefree Environmets Act 1990 office smoking ban, with effect from February 1991;

(2)   the 2003 Amendment with effect from 2004 ending all remaining smoking in indoor workplaces.

In the late 1990s Tuku Morgan MP introduced his own bill.  Later sponsored by Hon Tuariki Delamere, then Ms Steve Chadwick. Health Minister Hon Annette King’s supplementary order paper completely revised it.

In 2001-2 an array of health groups made submissions in favour of smokefree workplaces. Doctors for a Smokefree New Zealand collected 1000 doctors’ signatures in 8 weeks, detailing how second-hand smoke damages health, asserted clean air to breathe was a fundamental human right, and asking for smokefree workplaces for all workers by 2004 at the latest. DrSFNZsubmission.pdf   The Health Select Committee recommendations strengthened the bill. Now only residential situations are not covered by the ban.






Figure 2.  Public opinion on smoking in bars, and in restaurants 2000-06

Figure 3.  Compliance with the ban on smoking in 193 bars across 20 towns or cities, 2004-5

UMR Survey Research, separate surveys of 750 adults each.

National Research Bureau for ASH NZ.

Support for an end to smoking in restaurants and bars rose and then faltered in 2001, but increased again with a media campaign. During 2003, Parliament debated the bill, and a media campaign around the TV commercial Lets clear the air ran August to December, but neither affected the polls. The bill passed in December 2003, and came into force in December 2004. By 2005 69% of the public (nonsmokers 75%, smokers 42% supported smokefree bars. In April 2005, 21% of all respondents said they smoked cigarettes.

Surveyors on a Friday 6-8 pm, entering 193 bars in 20 centres, counted the number of patrons and the number of these who were smoking at the time they entered the indoor bar area. Those in outdoor areas were not included. The same bars were visited on both Rounds. (Round 1, July 2004, pre-ban; Round 2, April 2005, five months post-ban.)

This NZ Herald photograph illustrates a key issue of the campaign – whereas patrons had the choice to smoke, bar workers had little choice but to be smoked over. Health groups, with the support of bar workers’ and casino workers’ unions, successfully framed the issue as a workers’ rights issue, rather than as merely a patrons’ choice issue.





Figure 4.  Retail sales, 2001-2005, inflation-adjusted, and seasonally adjusted


  • After allowing for inflation, bar and club sales in the June quarter were virtually the same 2005 as in 2001, at just under $210 million (in 1995 $, seasonally adjusted).
  • Cafés on the other hand experienced strong sales growth beginning in 2002, continuing after the smokeban in December 2004 and continued during 2005, a growth of 19.5% in  4 years. 


  • In cafes and in bars, the smokeban did not affect prior sales trends.


      Source: Table 8, Retail Trade Survey, Retail sales          


For further graphs on the smoke ban, see Communiqué’s report for the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation.  (embargoed until 9 Dec)

For the effect of the Smokefree law on gambling hotline callers, see under Smokefree pubs and gambling.

© Copyright Health New Zealand 2006. All rights reserved.