Protecting the health of children

05 August 2019

Protecting children from the harm associated with second-hand smoke is an important issue.

Earlier this year, Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa announced that smoking or vaping with people 18 years or under in a vehicle, parked or moving, would be banned by the end of the year.

In June 2019, she introduced the Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Bill to Parliament to protect children from the harm associated with second-hand smoke and support New Zealand’s responsibilities to protect children’s health and wellbeing under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This is also part of the Government's commitment to achieving being Smokefree by 2025.

“These measures will protect children and young people and build healthier communities,” says Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa.

“While past public education and social marketing campaigns about the danger of second-hand smoke exposure in vehicles have had some impact, the rate of reduction of children exposed to smoking in vehicles has slowed. It is time to do more by legislating.”

“Too many of our children are exposed to second-hand smoke in the vehicles they usually travel in.”

“Children are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of smoking because of their smaller lungs, higher respiratory rate and immature immune systems.”

The Bill will give Police the ability to issue an infringement fee of $50. The Police will also have the discretion to issue warnings, provide information or refer people to stop smoking support services.

Under the proposed changes, the person smoking will be liable rather than the driver of the vehicle.

Vaping will also be included in the prohibition and it will apply to all vehicles, both parked and on the move.

The Act comes into force on the day that falls 18 months after the date on which it received the Royal assent.

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