Are New Zealand schools smoke-free? Results from a national survey of primary and intermediate school principals.N Z Med J 2000; 113(1104):52-4NZ
To document policies and practices developed by primary and intermediate schools in response to the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 and estimate levels of staff support for legislation requiring totally smoke-free schools.
Questionnaires were mailed to a random national sample of 10% of principals of all primary and intermediate schools.
There were 209 questionnaires returned, a response rate of 87%. While 97% of principals reported that their school had a written policy for smoking, only 58% provided a copy. Only 49% of principals said that their school smoking policy was prominently displayed. Most (82 %) claimed that school buildings were smoke-free, but only 44% said that this applied to buildings and grounds. Overall, 62% considered that school staff would support legislation that required schools to be totally smoke-free in buildings and grounds. School policies ranged from total prohibition of smoking in school buildings and grounds to the provision of designated smoking areas for staff.
Compliance with current smoke-free legislation appears to be variable. Consistency in the meaning of smoke-free status in schools is lacking. There appears to be good staff and parent support for making all schools totally smoke-free. The best way to achieve universal, permanent and totally smoke-free status for New Zealand schools would be to amend current legislation to include specific requirements for all school premises.