Making the Golden Mile smoke-free could help raise businesses by making the city center a pleasant place to be. A new study has found Wellington businesses are unperturbed at the thought smoking being prohibited in the city center. Of the 198 business owners and managers spoken to along the stretch from Lambton Quay to Courtenay Place, 83 percent thought it would have either a positive or little impact on business, Public health researchers from University of Otago, Wellington, found.

Research co-author, Associate Professor Nick Wilson, declared the study was carried out in light of increasing moves towards smoke-free city streets and shopping places in the United States and Australia.

The lack of interest from the majority of businesses showed that many could consider it a positive measure if the city streets became smoke-free, he added.

”It could even be the case that by making the center city more pleasant, smoke free streets could increase business effectiveness.”

The study results come after Wellington City Council’s plan and policy committee last week approved a new move to make all city playgrounds, sports fields and skate parks smoke-free.

The smoking ban will see signs set up in playgrounds and parks, but no fines for inhabitants who violate the rule.

But while councillors voted unanimously to prohibit smoking in parks, they voted down a movement by councillor Stephanie Cook calling for council staff to examine further smoke-free places, including the Golden Mile and al fresco dining.