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Smoking in cars to be banned

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Almost a decade after the Māori Affairs select committee inquiry into tobacco control asked for a ban on smoking in cars carrying children, the Government has decided to act.

Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa says the amendment to the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 should be passed by the end of the year.

She says too many New Zealand children, particularly Māori and Pacific children, are exposed to second-hand smoke in vehicles.

Police will be able to require people to stop smoking or vaping in their cars if children (under 18) are present.

They can use their discretion to give warnings, issue a $50 fine, and even refer people to stop-smoking support services.

Mihi Blair from public health advocacy service Hāpai Te Hauora says smoking needs to be seen as a health rather than a criminal issue, with police educating themselves on local stop smoking services rather than taking a punitive approach.

Other countries including Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, parts of the United States, and most of Canada already ban smoking in cars with children.












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