Smoking in car with children now officially banned

A ban on smoking in cars with children has officially come into force.

The third reading of the Smoke-free Environments Amendment Bill was passed unanimously in Parliament last year. The new law makes smoking or vaping in a car with anyone under the age of 18 an offence and the police will have the discretion to issue $50 fines on the spot or refer people to support services.

Action for Smokefree 2025 director Deborah Hart says the move is welcomed but New Zealand still has a long way to go on smoking.

She said smoking was dangerous for the person consuming cigarettes and the people around them.

"However, we still need the game-changing measures that will dramatically reduce smoking," she says. "We are awaiting the Government's Smokefree Plan, which went out for consultation earlier this year. 

"The plan should signal comprehensive and bold measures to get Aotearoa New Zealand to the Smokefree 2025 goal."

Deborah Hart.
Deborah Hart. Photo credit: The AM Show

Hart said New Zealand still isn't on track to reach that goal.

"What is needed immediately is greater investment in community-led initiatives to help people quit and mass media campaigns that support quit efforts.  Then with that support in place, we can legislate to make tobacco products less appealing, less available and less addictive."