Skycity Ready For Smokefree
SKYCITY Auckland said today that it is prepared for the introduction of smoke free legislation this Friday (December 10).
A number of physical changes to facilities will ensure all customers, smoking and non smoking, continue to enjoy the city’s leading gaming and entertainment destination as the days count down to the enactment of the new law.
Under the Smokefree Environments Amendment Act 2003, from 10 December 2004, no smoking is permitted inside any workplace. Smoking will be restricted to open-air venues.
Eight outdoor balconies, which are either already operational or close to opening, have been constructed around the SKYCITY Auckland complex. These balconies will become the complex’s designated smoking areas under the new law.
SKYCITY Auckland’s General Manager Attractions & Support Services, Grant Webster, says SKYCITY has been preparing for these changes for some time now and that the transition to smoke free is expected to be a smooth one.
“For nearly two years, we have been progressively reducing our smoking areas throughout the complex. Most public spaces including corridors are already smoke free. The main entrance atrium went smoke free in January 2003 without a hitch. The lifts, Sky Tower, theatre and the majority of our restaurants and gaming areas are now also non-smoking,” says Mr Webster.
“By offering a number of external designated smoking areas around the complex, we are confident that all of our customers, smoking and non smoking, will continue to enjoy a fun and entertaining experience post 10 December 2004.”
Mr Webster adds that in many ways it’s a win/win situation for everyone.
“Quite simply, under the new legislation, staff and customers will still be able to smoke if they choose to – they will just be limited to the new outdoor smoking areas. The fact that the legislation has been inevitable for some time and SKYCITY has been progressively making changes to its business and educating its customers, means SKYCITY is well prepared for the changes.
“We’re not expecting any surprises. Our staff are aware of the changes and will be instrumental in assisting customers to understand the smoke free legislation and how it affects them.
“We will continue to phase out our internal smoking areas over the coming days so that as we near midnight on Thursday (9 December) the transition will be a smooth one to having a smokefree venue.”
Mr Webster says although there are obvious benefits with the new smoke free legislation (including a healthier working environment for staff, cleaning and ventilation cost reductions) SKYCITY is also aware that there is likely to be downside for the business, but that it is likely to be short lived.
“The SKYCITY Group has estimated an approximate $10 million impact across its operations this financial year as a direct result of the new smoke free legislation. However, this is expected to abate within 12 months.”
Mr Webster says that SKYCITY has made extensive alterations to its facilities to prepare for the changes required by the smoke free work environment legislation.
“As a customer oriented company, it is vital we do everything we can within the confines of the legislation to ensure all our customers are accommodated under the new law. Our smoking balconies are all individually furnished and designed to reflect that this is an entertainment environment and include furniture and heating,” he says.
As well as the balconies, other changes at SKYCITY from 10 December include the removal of cigarette vending machines as the new law requires stricter rules around the sale and promotion of cigarettes. From 10 December, cigarettes will be sold at SKYCITY behind the counter at various bars and restaurants and on portable refreshment trolleys.
SKYCITY has also progressively installed signage throughout the complex to direct customers to the nearest smoking area. Universal language signs show areas that are smoke free and areas that are designated as smoking with a picture of a cigarette in a bright green light for smoking zones and with a cross through the cigarette in a red light for non-smoking zones.
Advertising began recently on radio, TV and in print (in a number of different languages) in SKYCITY’s key communities (Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown) to reinforce SKYCITY’s smoke free messages.
For staff, SKYCITY has constructed a new smoking balcony linked to the staff cafeteria (which previously offered a smoking room). For employees keen to give up the habit, SKYCITY has promoted the national smoking Quitline offering advice and support as well as heavily discounted vouchers for the purchase of nicotine gum and patches.
Mr Webster says SKYCITY saw the introduction of smoke free as an opportunity to contribute to the welfare of its staff by getting alongside the nation’s leading treatment provider and putting in place a cost effective process for those willing to give up their smoking habit.
“Staff simply phone up the Quitline with proof of their employee details to receive two months supply of nicotine replacement for just $15, which would normally cost around $200,” he said.
The various smoking balconies at SKYCITY Auckland are located over two levels to ensure only a short walking distance from any bar, restaurant or casino within the complex. *
At SKYCITY Hamilton and SKYCITY Queenstown Casino, the existing outdoor decks will be utilised as designated smoking areas.