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Hapai Te Hauora urges action on smoking in cars

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Hāpai Te Hauora supports the recommendations from a study into New Zealanders’ attitudes towards banning smoking in cars carrying children. The authors are researchers from the University of Otago and the University of Auckland. They state that, by not introducing legislation to make cars carrying children smokefree, the Government is failing in their obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC).

"This study shows overwhelming community support for a ban on smoking in cars with children." says Lance Norman CEO of Hāpai Te Hauora. "The new Prime Minister has committed to prioritising the wellbeing of children, and to listen more to communities during her term in government. Well, here’s a great opportunity - the communities are telling her to protect the children by legislating to ban smoking in cars."

The authors used data from two nationally representative surveys, the 2014 ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) Year 10 Snapshot Survey and the 2016 Health and Lifestyles Survey. An overwhelming majority of adult smokers support a ban, with 89% in favour compared with 94% of adult non-smokers in favour. Among children the numbers were similar with 87% agreeing with the statement "smoking in cars should be banned when children are in them."

"Māori children are most affected by this issue, with smoking rates still high among our whānau Māori compared to other ethnic groups," says Norman "What this means is that tamariki Māori have the most to gain from legislation which prioritises their wellbeing. What this looks like in practice is important - our whānau will not benefit from an approach which simply criminalises parents. Hāpai Te Hauora advocates a health-based approach in designing the implementation of a ban on smoking in cars with children which aligns with support services and population level interventions which help whānau to be smokefree. This would send a powerful signal that the Government intends to address the inequities that exist in health outcomes in this country."

The study can be accessed here

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