Government to ban smoking in cars with children

Newshub understands the Government will ban smoking in vehicles if children are present, with Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa making the announcement on Sunday morning.

However Newshub understands it won't be a total ban on smoking in vehicles.

It comes after a campaign by The AM Show host Duncan Garner, who has gathered over 28,000 signatures on his petition for change.

"If it was common sense then people wouldn't smoke in cars with kids, but that's what they do," Garner said on the AM Show in June.

"That's why you have to ban it."

The previous Government rejected a recommendation to ban smoking cars, which Garner called "weak and pathetic".

"It's easy, it's enforceable, just like seatbelts and cellphones - it's about priorities," he said.

In November, Ms Salesa, charged with smoking cessation, revealed she'd been working on plans to ban smoking in cars with children for a few months.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Newshub last week that a decision about a ban was imminent.

Otago University Professor Richard Edwards supports the idea of a ban, telling The AM Show in November that New Zealand should follow in the footsteps of Australia, Canada and the UK, among others, where smoking in cars with kids is banned.

"A car is an enclosed space, but even if the windows are open, you get extremely high levels of poor air quality indicators - much higher than you would get in smoky restaurants or bars," said Prof Edwards.

"This is widely supported, even among smokers - about 95 percent of smokers in a study we did recently support legislation on banning smoking in cars with children."

In Canada, smoking is prohibited if there are children less than 16 years of age in the vehicle. Similar rules apply across Australian states, as well as the UK where legislation in England and Wales makes it illegal to smoke in a vehicle carrying someone who is under 18.

"It's been happening all around the world and it does seem like a very obvious thing to do to protect children from a health hazard," Prof Edwards added.

"It's very well proven and kids have no choice over it."


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