MEDIA RELEASES

Children’s Health Rights Violated Say Researchers

New Canadian research[1] makes it clear that children’s health rights are being violated by smoking in vehicles. A ban on smoking in cars while carrying children under the age of 18 would be one specific measure New Zealand could take to protect that right, says Northland DHB Smokefree advisor Bridget Rowse.

New Zealand has signed international agreements, such as the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which asserts second-hand smoke as a threat to these health rights, and imposes a duty on governments to protect ‘all persons’ from second-hand smoke exposure.

Internationally there is a growing trend worldwide towards vehicular smoking bans and these are generally well-supported.

Says Ms Rowse: “Here in New Zealand, however, government drags its feet on this protective measure and, instead, asks the health sector, to promote responsible behaviour to the public.”

The researchers cited recent international and New Zealand research, which has consistently shown the overwhelming majority of both adults and young people support a ban on smoking in cars.

Ms Rowse notes that this includes most smokers themselves.

Without exception, the young participants said they disliked (or ‘hated’) being around smoke and smokers, due primarily to the smell and having trouble breathing. They were very aware of the health risks, especially to them as children. However, many said they rarely spoke up when it happened for fear of angry reactions.


According to the 2013 ASH Year 10 survey, 21.5 per cent of Northland’s 14 and 15-year -olds have travelled in a car in the past seven days with someone who was smoking, compared to 18.5 per cent nationally.

New Zealand research from 2011 found negative role-modelling was also a concern and that observing family and friends smoking, increases a child’s risk of tobacco uptake.

“If you can justify banning cellphone use in cars, with not one single death on record caused by this behaviour, how can you possible justify not banning smoking in cars?” asks Ms Rowse.

To get help to stop smoking, talk to your local health provider, Aukati Kai Paipa quit coach
www.aukatikaipaipa.co.nz or call Quitline on 0800 778 778.




[1]   “Smoking bans for private vehicles: children’s rights and children’s voices” published online in Children’s Geographies on 17 November was conducted by Morgan Tymko and Damian Collins from the Human Geography Program at the University of Alberta.




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