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Make your car smokefree - National Children’s Day

PRESS RELEASE 17 October 2006

Make your car smokefree - National Children’s Day 2006

Parents and caregivers in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts are encouraged to declare their cars smokefree from National Children’s Day Sunday 29 October 2006 to help protect children from second-hand smoke.

“There has been a five-percent increase in the number of children treated at Tauranga Hospital for primary respiratory illness such as bronchitis and asthma in the past year, according to hospital data,” says Toi Te Ora – Public Health Health Promoter Vanessa Oxley. “While second-hand smoke will not have contributed to all of these cases, it is a main contributor to respiratory illness.”

Second-hand smoke is a major cause of higher incidences of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), low birth rates in infants and ear infections, asthma, bronchitis and lower respiratory tract infections in children. Vanessa Oxley says one way parents and caregivers can help reduce their children’s exposure is by ensuring their vehicle is free of cigarette smoke at all times, for everyone.

“Children are most likely to be exposed to second-hand smoke in confined spaces, such as cars,” she says. “Winding down a window doesn’t eliminate the dangerous poisons contained in second hand smoke - the poisons can linger in dust and on surfaces for days, weeks or even months. If you smoke on the way to pick up children, it can still affect your children when they get into the car, even if you have stopped smoking.”

Vanessa Oxley says children are particularly vulnerable to second-hand smoke because their vital organs are still developing and they are often not able to move away from the smoke if in a confined space. A new public health campaign encouraging parents and caregivers not to smoke in cars that children travel in, is currently underway in Katikati and focuses on three key messages: a) Second hand smoke is dangerous for children, b) Winding down a window doesn’t eliminate the harmful poisons contained in second hand smoke and c) Make your car smokefree.

How to make your car smokefree
• Make a RULE - your car is Smokefree/Auahi Kore to all family and friends
• Let other people know - put a smokefree sticker on your car window (stickers can be ordered by Toi Te Ora Public Health)
• Clean out your car ashtray and remove the cigarette lighter
• Ask your family and whanau to support you by not smoking in your car.
Free smokefree stickers for your car can be ordered through Vanessa Oxley on 07 577 3766


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