Smoking and vaping to be banned in cars with children

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Words: Nile Bijoux
11 Feb 2019

The Government has announced that smoking and vaping in cars carrying children aged under 18 years will be banned.

The law will come into effect late next year after an 18-month public education campaign. Anyone caught subsequently will be slapped with a $50 fine but police will be able to issue a warning.

Associate Health Minister, Jenny Salesa, said that “too many New Zealand children, particularly Māori and Pacific children, are exposed to second-hand smoke in the vehicles they usually travel in. Children are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke due to their smaller lungs, higher respiratory rate and immature immune systems.

“Second-hand smoke accumulates in vehicles, even with the windows open. It reaches much higher levels than in homes.

“Public education and social marketing campaigns over many years have had some impact, but the rate of reduction in children exposed to smoking in vehicles is slowing. It is now time to do more by legislating.”

The previous National government ramped up tobacco excise to discourage smoking but failed to take action on smoking in cars.

In a recent survey by the Ministry of Health, 30 per cent of Year 10 students reported being exposed to second-hand smoke. A ban could reduce respiratory conditions to the tune of “hundreds of thousands fewer admissions to hospital, and about 10,000 fewer asthma episodes,” according to MoH Director-General, Ashley Bloomfield.

While the ban is primarily aimed at protecting children, it will also take another step towards creating a smoke-free New Zealand by 2025.

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