Smoking with Kids in the Car to be Banned

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, 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)
  • Meningitis

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
  • For more information, this handy guide to making your car smokefree is published in seven languages (PDF).

* Source: Community & Public Health Te Mana Ora

her world julieWritten 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”


  1. Alezandra 03/03/2019 at 11:34 pm

    I know that people have started all sorts of different ways to ban smoking. I just wish it was now gone entirely. Second hand smoking is the worst and I grew up in a household with a smoker – my dad. It was hard and hated it when he does it. Good thing I vowed never to and also knew I can never be with someone who smokes. Thank God my husband doesn’t either.

  2. SarahBlair 02/03/2019 at 10:59 pm

    This is fantastic news! If people want to smoke that’s their choice but to force kids to suffer for their choices is not okay! Smoking is so harmful, I know a girl that had a baby and would go outside to smoke, change her top, wash her hand and brush her hair and her teeth to get rid of the smell before she picked up her baby after having a smoke, she still reeked of it and she couldn’t smell it but im sure that her baby could! The smell and the chemicals stick to everything so they linger inside a car long after someone has had a cigarette in it too!

  3. felicity beets 02/03/2019 at 7:44 pm

    Thought this would be common sense by now, but glad it is being made illegal to do.

  4. kymmage 01/03/2019 at 8:25 am

    I’m totally cool with this. But then I’m not a smoker so it’s easy for me to say that. I imagine long haul driving with kids it would be harder not to want to light up. But I guess it means more rest stops!

  5. MuddledUpMolly 27/02/2019 at 3:46 pm

    Yay finally!! OMG I hate smoking with a passion! I grew up with a Mum who smoked and even she never smoked in the house or car so I find it appalling that people do this with poor children present 🙁

  6. dawnblyth 27/02/2019 at 11:55 am

    Second hand smoke is worse than than actually smoking from what I have heard. Small people do not need to be put in a position where they have no choice but to inhale it. Ban smoking in cars I say. It’s not ok for small people or adults

  7. Mands1980 25/02/2019 at 11:58 am

    I actually agree with this as being a non smoker if someone else smokes around me it just stinks and makes you feel sick. So imagine poor wee kids in a car the smoke smell stays in the car too and they simply can not get away from breathing the smoke in to there lungs.

  8. Bevik1971 25/02/2019 at 10:33 am

    I was a smoker up until 7 years ago, however during the time I did smoke I never smoked in a vehicle even when I was alone – I just never liked it. I never smoked walking down the street either, just didn’t think it was a nice thing to do. I have always believed in not smoking in cars with children and can’t believe it’s taken this long for it to be made legal 🙁

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