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Smokefree cars driving us to 2025

Smokefree cars driving us to 2025

There has been a lot of noise nationally about the banning of smoking in cars with children . It has been on the TV and in the paper and it’s the subject matter of much discussion throughout New Zealand communities. Additionally the new Associate Minister of Health Minister Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has indicated that his party is supportive of the move. The question on many people’s minds, and which has not really been identified in the media yet is what are the actual impacts of second hand smoke for our kids? What benefit to our children would banning smoking in cars actually bring?

The research tell us that more than 350 New Zealanders die each year due to exposure to second-hand smoke, and that cigarette smoke contains a lethal mix of more than 4,000 chemicals such as arsenic, hydrogen, cyanide, ammonia and carbon monoxide. Two hundred of these chemicals have been identified as poisonous. Currently second-hand smoke remains the leading environmental cause of death in New Zealand.

Of course when it comes to smoking in cars our children, our most vulnerable, are taking the hit. Children have smaller lungs and their developing bodies are particularly susceptible to the impacts of second hand smoke. Some of the more immediate side effects that second hand smoke has on our children include: middle ear infections (including glue ear/otitis media); lower respiratory illnesses (including croup, bronchitis, bronchiolitis and pneumonia); the onset of asthma and worsening of asthmatic symptoms; sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI or cot death); and meningococcal disease. All these elements have massive impacts on a child’s learning development and behaviour. Zoe Hawke from Te Ara Hā Ora the National Māori Tobacco Control Leadership service believes that “Banning smoking in cars would contribute massively to the de-normalising of second hand smoke around our kids, and of course, protect them from serious harm”.

Taking a stand for all our kids and banning smoking in cars seems like the least we can do to protect our children. The government have a goal of being a smokefree nation by 2025, just 10 years away. Zoe states that “The thought of another 10 years with kids sitting in cars with smoke everywhere seems like a crime. Stepping on the smokefree accelerator and letting smokefree cars drive us to 2025 is a good indication that government are serious about the health and wellbeing of children”

END


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