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English car smoking ban a model for New Zealand

English car smoking ban a model for New Zealand

Tala Pasifika and Smokefree Coalition media release, 16 July 2014

Tala Pasifika has welcomed the launch of a consultation bringing a ban on smoking in cars carrying children a step closer in England, saying its information will usher the measure along in New Zealand.

Tala’s General Manager Edward Cowley said children who are passengers in cars where someone is smoking are exposed to dangerous levels of toxic fumes. He hopes England’s ministers are encouraged by the consultation to bring in the regulation banning smoke in vehicles where children under the age of 18 are present.

The consultation on the initiative launched today and will run for six weeks.

"Second-hand smoke is a real and substantial threat to child health," Cowley says.

"In 2012, almost a quarter of our Year 10 students here in New Zealand reported being exposed to second-hand smoke in private vehicles, including the family car. But there is also a much higher proportion of Maori and Pacific students who are exposed, compared with students of other ethnicities.”

England’s consultation seeks views on draft regulations before they are made. The aims of the regulations on smoking in private vehicles carrying children would be to: protect children from the health harms associated with exposure to second-hand smoke in private vehicles; encourage action by smokers to protect children from second-hand smoke; and, in time, lead to a reduction in health conditions in children caused by exposure to second-hand smoke.

In February, English MPs voted in favour of legislation that could see the move brought forward under the Children and Families Act.

"Cars are small tin boxes where concentrations of tobacco smoke can reach dangerous levels very quickly," said Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in England.

"As David Cameron himself has said, ‘the time has come for it to be illegal to make children breathe in these toxic fumes. Laws stopping smoking in cars with children are popular with the public, with parliament and with children and we urge the Government to bring them into force before the next election’."

Cowley says the same public popularity of the measure is true for New Zealand.

“A UMR poll conducted recently by ASH NZ found that 91 percent of people agree smoking should be banned in cars carrying children younger than 18 years of age”.

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