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Follow UK on smoking in cars – Stroke and Asthma Foundations

Follow UK’s lead on smoking in cars – Stroke and Asthma Foundations'

New Zealand should heed the example set by the UK parliament yesterday and ban smoking in cars when children are passengers, said the Stroke and Asthma Foundations’ today.

“Second hand smoke is a major cause of ill health for children and eliminating their exposure to it in the confined space of a car is one of best ways we can reduce smoking related illness,” said Stroke Foundation, National Health Promotion Manager, Julia Rout. “The British government has committed to protecting children from this unacceptable hazard and New Zealand should follow suit.”

UK MPs voted by 376 votes to 107 to ban smoking in cars carrying children and health ministers have pledged to enforce the ban by 2015. The legislation will cover England and Wales – Scotland already has a private members bill going through its own parliament.

“New Zealand has been in the frontline of eradicating smoking in public places and it must not be left behind on this,” continued Mrs Rout. “Adults have a duty to protect children and smoking in the enclosed space of a car beside them is incredibly harmful to young lungs. Those who would defend the freedom to smoke in the private space of a car cannot justify forcing children to breathe poisonous tobacco smoke.”

Medical director for the Asthma Foundation Dr Kyle Perrin says "many childhood respiratory diseases are worsened by exposure to cigarette smoke. Children in cars where an adult is smoking are effectively trapped, and the negative effects on their respiratory system are increased. This occurs even if a window is open."

More than 350 New Zealanders die each year due to exposure to second-hand smoke. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke and those who are exposed may suffer from many of the same diseases as regular smokers including stroke, asthma, coronary heart disease and lung cancer.

ENDS

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