Auckland, February 10, 2019
The government has announced that it will ban smoking in cars carrying children under 18 years of age.
Vaping will also be included in the ban and will apply to moving and parked vehicles.
Under the new rules, the Police will be able to use their discretion to give warnings, refer people to anti-smoking support services, or issue an infringement fee of $50.
Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa said that too many children, especially Māori and Pasifika, were exposed to second-hand smoke in vehicles.
She said that children were especially vulnerable to second-hand smoke because of their smaller lungs, higher respiratory rates and immature immune systems.
The focus of the change was not to issue infringement notices, but to change social norms and promote education about smoking, Ms Salesa said.
“The legislation will also be backed up with a new and innovative public education and social marketing effort,” she said.
Ms Salesa said there had been a strong show of support for a ban, with multiple surveys showing that 90% of people supported it.
She said that New Zealand would be joining Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland and South Africa which have also banned smoking in cars.
The ban has got the approval of Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft, who said that he was deeply encouraged by the move.
The changes allowing police to refer people to quit services will into force by an amendment to the Smoke-free Environments Act, likely by the end of 2019.
After that there will be an 18-month grace period before police start to issue infringement notices.
Katie Doyle is Youth Affairs Reporter at Radio New Zealand. The above Report has been published by Indian Newslink under a Special Agreement with www.rnz.co.nz