The New Zealand Government is moving towards a ban on smoking or vaping with kids in the car.
The Smoke-free Environments Act is to be amended with a ban on smoking or vaping in a vehicle (parked or moving), while children under the age of 18 years old are present. The ban is expected to come into law by the end of 2019.
The law change will mean that police can give a warning, refer offenders to stop-smoking support services, or issue a $50 fine.
The dangers of second-hand smoke for kids
Second-hand smoke contains more than 200 poisons, including 50 that are known to cause cancer*.
The presence of second-hand cigarette smoke is more dangerous for children than adults. Children breathe quicker and therefore breathe in more smoke. Their lungs are smaller and still developing and are more susceptible to damage. Immature immune systems also make them more prone to illness.
According to Smokefree.org.nz, children need to be protected from second-hand smoke because it can cause:
- Middle ear infections, like glue ear
- Lung and breathing illnesses, like croup, bronchitis, bronchiolitis and pneumonia
- Asthma, and it can make asthma worse
- Delays in lung growth
- Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI or cot death)
How to make your car and home smokefree
- Ensure that everyone, including extended family and friends, know that your car and home are to be smokefree at all times for everyone, including visitors. Kids are really good at reminding others about rules so let them know too.
- Remove ashtrays and lighters from your home and car to make it harder for anyone to break the rules.
- Be a positive role model – don’t smoke around children.
- If you are currently a smoker, think about quitting. For help to quit smoking call 0800 778 778 to speak to a Quit Advisor or visit www.quit.org.nz.
- For more information, this handy guide to making your car smokefree is published in seven languages (PDF).
* Source: Community & Public Health Te Mana Ora
Written by Julie Scanlon
Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire.
Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”