Government protects kids as smoking in cars ban becomes law

  • Hon Jenny Salesa

Thousands of children will have healthier lungs after the Government’s ban on smoking in cars with kids becomes law, says 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 earlier today.

“This law makes it an offence to smoke in a motor vehicle carrying anyone under 18 years old. We’re 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-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’re 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. This is consistent with our health approach.

“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 Māori 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 Jenny Salesa.

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