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Government protects kids as smoking in cars ban becomes law

THOUSANDS of children will have healthier lungs after the Government's ban on smoking in cars with kids becomes law, said Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa.

This comes after the third reading of Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Bill passed unanimously last week.

“This law makes it an offence to smoke in a motor vehicle carrying anyone under 18 years old,” said the minister.

“We are doing this because children are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke due to their smaller lungs, higher respiratory rate and more immature immune systems.

“We know that second-hand smoke can accumulate in vehicles, even with the windows down. That presents an unacceptable risk to kids who never asked to be exposed to second-hand smoke, and deserve a fighting chance at a life of healthy, clean lungs.

“Our Government wants to make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child.

“We are making progress towards that goal by putting the interests of kids first.

“When the bill becomes law, police will have discretion to issue on-the-spot fines of $50 for those who smoke in cars with children, or to issue warnings or refer people to cessation support services.

“New Zealand joins Australia, Finland, the UK, most Canadian provinces and some US states, in banning smoking in cars with kids.

“This progressive new legislation continues our work towards New Zealand's aspirational goal of Smokefree 2025.

“It's been a decade since the Maori Affairs Committee recommended that New Zealand should investigate banning smoking in vehicles carrying children, and it is this Government who delivers.

“Vaping in cars with children will also be banned once the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill is passed by Parliament.” said Ms Salesa.

The Health Promotion Agency will run an education campaign about the new rules.

  1. Dave says:

    If they were serious about this it would come into force now and not in 18 months’ time.

    1. Margaret Hogge, Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc. says:

      These lead times – 18 months in this case – mean that a child born today could be exposed to toxic second-hand tobacco smoke for its first one and a half years! We know that second-hand smoke causes Cot Death-SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Urgent implementation is needed.
      Here in Australia, the wheels of reform turn excruciatingly slowly as well, although, fortunately the legislation to protect children in cars came earlier.
      Now we are calling for total smoking bans during Total Fire Bans – duh! – hard to believe that smokers can light up, smoke for, say, 15 minutes, leave ashes floating around everywhere, and then stub out (or not) – they flick their butts anywhere and everywhere – they don’t carry personal ashtrays, and modern cars don’t have ashtrays. All during Total Fire Bans. Some of those horrific bushfires were started from tossed butts. Let’s see how quickly those wheels turn.