Thursday, May 30, 2024

Drivers butt out for children

It is now illegal to smoke or vape in most vehicles carrying children aged under 18 years old – whether the vehicle is moving or not, Associate Minister of Health, Ayesha Verrall said today.

“Second-hand smoke poses an unacceptable risk to our tamariki and rangatahi,” Dr Verrall said.

“We know children in vehicles cannot get away from the smoke, and the poisons from cigarettes linger long after the smoke and smell have disappeared.”

The ban on smoking was introduced by the Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Act in May 2020. In August 2020, this was extended to include vaping through the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act.

“Even with the windows down, smoke builds up in vehicles making them a toxic environment. There’s significant evidence showing exposure to second-hand smoke can cause children to suffer from illnesses such as asthma, chest infections and glue ear,” the Minister said.

“Whānau can easily protect their young ones. Make sure the air is clear on every journey by keeping your vehicle smokefree and vape free at all times.

“This ban is one tool in a range of robust controls already in place to prevent smoking-related and vaping-related harm, particularly for tamariki and rangatahi.

“We have banned smoking and vaping in schools, the sale of vaping and tobacco products to under-18s, and tobacco and vaping advertising and sponsorship. We’ve reduced the attractiveness of vaping products to young people by banning the use of cartoons and toys on packaging and the use of colouring substances in vape liquids.

“And we’ve also removed the temptation created by various flavours, by banning general retailers such as dairies, service stations and supermarkets from selling vaping products in flavours other than tobacco, mint and menthol,” Dr Verrall said.

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