Government looking at ban on smoking in cars with kids

The AM Show 08/11/2018

Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa has revealed she's been working to ban smoking in cars with children for a few months.

The AM Show has been campaigning for a ban on smoking in cars with children since Monday, and has called on the Government to make it illegal.

Ms Salesa, charged with smoking cessation, said she has been drafting a Cabinet paper and will be speaking with other MPs about whether they would support it.

"My hope is that it can move forward," she told The AM Show.

"The purpose of the Cabinet paper is to then take it to Cabinet committee, hopefully for the approval to then draft legislation."

Once it has been approved by Cabinet the paper will be taken to the Parliamentary Counsel Office for the legislation to be drafted.

She could not give any specifics on what the actual timeframe for introducing a Bill would be.

It's not the first time the Government has looked at banning smoking in cars with children though - previous efforts have not been successful.

"In 2010 the Māori select committee made recommendations, as well as in 2015, a petition was received in Parliament and again the recommendation was that we create legislation to prohibit smoking in vehicles when children are in those vehicles," Ms Salesa said.

"That didn't happen those two times, and so my appeal to all of my Parliamentary colleagues is this is important - making sure that harmful substances like tobacco do not affect the health of our children is something that all of us should vote unanimously for."

If it goes forward, Ms Salesa doesn't think she will see a system heavy on enforcement, instead relying on a change in culture.

"Instead of giving out lots of infringement notices we will be looking at a change of culture, as we've seen with smoke-free in Aotearoa...  it was not accepted 20, 30 years ago but now it is the norm not to smoke in certain areas," she said.

"We expect this to go the same way as well."

Watch the full interview with Jenny Salesa above.

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