Do you smoke when there are kids are in the car? If so, you won’t be able to for much longer.
From 28 November 2021, it will be illegal to smoke or vape in a vehicle that has tamariki under 18 years of age in it (whether the vehicle is moving or not).
The new law is to protect children from the dangers of second-hand smoke. Even when the windows are open, second-hand smoke accumulates and reaches higher levels than in other settings.
Second-hand smoke contains lots of chemicals that are bad for your kids’ health, including cyanide, DDT, ammonia and carbon monoxide.
Kids can get particularly sick because their lungs are smaller, they have a faster breathing rate and their immune systems are still developing.
Follow these top tips to help you go smokefree in your car:
(Health Promotion Agency, NZ, 2021)
1. Make it a rule
Make it a rule that your car is smokefree at all times for everyone. Make sure your friends and whānau know the rule and stick to it. Let other people know by putting smokefree/auahi kore stickers on your windows.
2. Think about your tamariki
Think about the damage your second-hand smoke is doing to your kids’ health. It’s about protecting your tamariki and future generations to come.
3. Don’t have smokes visible in the car
Keep your smokes and lighter out of sight and out of reach in the car. Remove the cigarette lighter and ashtray from your car.
4. Chew gum instead
Try chewing gum instead of smoking. There are lots of great flavours you can choose from.
5. Listen to music
Put on some tunes to relax and take your mind off smoking. Get the kids involved by letting them choose a song or two. Or you can listen to the radio.
6. Sip a drink
Have a non-alcoholic drink such as water, tea or coffee handy to sip when the car has stopped.
If you would like more information about how to stop smoking, call Quitline on 0800 778 778, talk to your GP or healthcare provider or visit smoking – why quit.