All bus stops in Whangarei will eventually be smoke-free zones, Mayor Morris Cutforth says.
Mr Cutforth said anti-smoking signs on bus stops and other public gathering places would definitely be a "possibility in the future".
New research from Otago University recommends making bus stops and train stations smoke-free to protect people from secondhand cigarette smoke.
The research, which observed nearly 5000 adults and adolescents in Britain and New Zealand, found more than one-in-10 Kiwis lit up while waiting for public transport.
Only 7 per cent of Britons were observed smoking at outdoor transport waiting areas.
Currently, all three Northland councils have smoke-free policies in parks, playgrounds and sports grounds.
Mr Cutforth said more areas, including outdoor bars and restaurants, would become smoke-free zones as New Zealand headed towards being smoke-free by 2025.
"It's not necessarily a popular thing to do, but like a lot of council decisions it's not a matter of what's popular - it's a matter of what's right," he said.
Full-time caregiver Zane Tito, 29, thinks it's not on.
"I think you should be able to have a smoke while you're waiting for the bus if you want to," he said.
He disagreed with the comment that seeing other people light up makes it more difficult for those wanting to quit.
"If you want to stop, you're going to stop. What about the other people out there that don't want to stop?"
Lead researcher Associate Professor George Thomson said smoking bans in outdoor waiting areas had several benefits.
"People are realising more and more that if they see people smoking around them - it's harder for smokers to stop smoking, it's harder for ex-smokers to stay quit and for children and young people who might think about starting smoking, it becomes much more normal if they see it around them."
Smoke-free policies could also reduce councils' city maintenance costs, Prof Thomson said. However, Action on Smoking and Health director Ben Youdan said a "heavy handed" approach to smoke-free outdoor policies was not needed.
"Councils need to take an approach which is not about ostracising smokers, but understanding their addiction and providing a supporting environment in which to beat that addiction."
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