News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Australians smoke less in cars than New Zealanders



Monday 4 March 2013

Smartphone app shows Australians smoke less in cars than New Zealanders

Research just published indicates that New South Wales has one third of the people smoking in cars compared to New Zealand.

Of nearly 5000 cars observed in Sydney, only 1% had smokers, compared to 2.9% of 10,000 cars in New Zealand. Since 2009, vehicles have legally been required to be smokefree in New South Wales when there is a child under 16 as a passenger, but there is no similar law in New Zealand.

University of Otago, Wellington researcher, Associate Professor Nick Wilson, says that the much lower level of cars with people smoking in Sydney is likely to be a result of the New South Wales law.

He says smoking in cars creates extremely high levels of pollution, even higher than in smoky pubs, and impacts on the health of children and non-smokers.

“This is further evidence why New Zealand politicians need to protect children with a law against smoking in cars. We have laws for seat belts and mobile phone use by drivers, and protecting children’s health is also very important.”

He added that “while New Zealand used to be an international leader in controlling the tobacco epidemic, it is now falling behind Australia in a number of areas such as smoking in cars and plain packaging of tobacco packs.”

“Second-hand smoke in a car is 23 times more toxic than in a house, due to the enclosed space,” says Dr Tristram Ingham, Medical Adviser for the Asthma Foundation. “Smoke-exposed children have more respiratory and ear infections, chronic bronchitis, wheezing, and asthma. They also have more frequent medical visits, are hospitalised more frequently, and miss more schooldays.”

The research involved developing an app for smartphones to allow observers to count cars with people smoking. The app is available free from the tobaccofree.nzdis.org/ website, and app users who register on the website can download new observations on smoking in cars from anywhere in the world.Currently, both Android and iPhone (iOS) versions are supported.

Another University of Otago researcher, Dr Mariusz Nowostawski, says that both the smartphone application and website source code are freely available. This means they can be used as the basis for further refinements to the existing app, or the code can be used as a basis for other usages. Those uses could include counting observed mobile phone use in cars to help improve the effectiveness of the law on mobile phone use.

This study has been published in the international journal ‘Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health’ and funded by the New Zealand Asthma Foundation and the University of Otago.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Wellington Rugby Zeroes: Sevens To Move To Hamilton

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester: “The Sevens has been a big part of recent Wellington history but it was time for the event to move on… Wellingtonians have been voting with their feet in the last few years and we’ve seen the result in dwindling crowd numbers and lower ticket sales.” More>>

ALSO:

Matafeo & Dravid: The Billy T And Fred Award Winners For 2017

At the final show of the 2017 NZ International Comedy Festival powered by Flick Electric Co. the Festival came to a close after 115 shows in Auckland and 68 shows in Wellington. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: What’s Fair? Tax and Fairness

This is an excellent and timely book, since apart from general statements about increasing or mostly reducing tax, there has been very little comment or debate as to whether we should pay tax at all and how much tax should each of us pay. More>>

Ockham Awards: Globally Lauded Novelist Wins NZ’s Biggest Fiction Prize

Internationally renowned Ngāruawāhia resident Catherine Chidgey has won New Zealand’s richest writing award, the $50,000 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize, for her novel The Wish Child. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland