NZ Car Ban

Posted 11th July 2019 by Dave Cross
Earlier this year, New Zealand’s Smoke-free Environments Act was to be altered to make it illegal to smoke or vape if children were in a car. Despite having a more enlightened view towards vaping as a way of reducing tobacco-related diseases, the Health Minister plans on banning vaping in cars too.

Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa announced the proposals, saying: “First and foremost this change is about protecting children. However, it is also part of the Government's commitment to achieving Smokefree 2025.”

"Too many New Zealand children, particularly Māori and Pacific children, are exposed to second-hand smoke in the vehicles they usually travel in. Children are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke due to their smaller lungs, higher respiratory rate and immature immune systems."

Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft called smoke and vape, “chemical poison”.

Jonathan Devery, director of Alt New Zealand, commented: “Good on the Government for banning smoking in vehicles when there are children inside. We wholeheartedly support this move and we’re pleased Parliament’s dealing with this issue separately to vaping.”

“Our only wish is that during this bill’s progression and then the vaping legislation later this year, MPs continue to clearly differentiate between the dangers of tobacco verses the positive and effective role vaping plays in helping Kiwis quit smoking.”

Alt New Zealand said that it’s encouraging the National Party is supporting the proposed smoking ban for cars carrying kids going to select committee, and that the Speaker has made it clear during the bill’s first reading that this proposed legislation is not the place to debate vaping.

“It’s very important that smoking and vaping are treated completely differently because they are completely different. It’s great the Government gets that and has recently firmed up its public position on vaping,” added Devery.

Two weeks ago the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) and Ministry of Health launched a ‘vaping to quit smoking’ website [link]. The website is part of a public information campaign announced by the Associate Health Minister and aimed at supporting smokers to successfully switch to vaping.

Jonathan Devery concluded: “The Government is doing some great work in the Smoke Free 2025 space. However, key to ongoing success will be keeping smoking and vaping completely separate. Let’s ensure New Zealand smokers cannot be confused. The crystal-clear message needs to be that vaping is the most effective tool smokers have to quit.”

The UK adopted a smoking ban in cars carrying children in October 2015. Ten months later, it was branded a complete flop. Only three out of forty-two police forces carried out any stops relating to smoking in cars. None of those stops resulted in anything other than a verbal warning – no drivers were issued with the statutory £50 fine.

Nigel Rabbits, branch spokesperson for the Devon and Cornwall Police Federation, said the law left officers “confused as to where they stand. It is poor legislation that hasn't been thought through and it's very difficult to enforce because you are talking about looking at a vehicle and trying to figure out what's going on inside. If you're looking for someone under the age of 18 that's difficult without stopping the vehicle and once the vehicle has been stopped getting the evidence for prosecution is extremely difficult.”

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker