New Zealand Law Society - Bill aims to prohibit smoking in cars with children

Bill aims to prohibit smoking in cars with children

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Associate Minister for Health Jenny Salesa introduced the Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Bill to Parliament on 17 June 2019.

The bill's purpose is to protect children from the harm associated with second-hand smoke and support New Zealand’s responsibilities to protect children’s health and wellbeing under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This bill amends the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 to prohibit smoking in motor vehicles carrying children and young people under 18 years of age.

The explanatory note to the bill says there is strong evidence that exposure to second-hand smoke can put younger children at increased risk of serious medical conditions. Māori children and those living in the most deprived areas are more likely to be exposed to second-hand smoke in vehicles. While rates of children and young people’s exposure to second-hand smoke have been decreasing, the rate of decrease may be slowing. Public education social marketing campaigns have been useful, but this amendment is needed to significantly decrease rates further.

The Act comes into force on the day that is 18 months after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

Clause 6 amends section 5 (Smoking in workplaces prohibited) by inserting section 5(3) so that the exception that would allow smoking in a work vehicle is overridden by new section 20D, which prohibits smoking in motor vehicles carrying child occupants.

Clause 7 amends section 5A (Employer may permit smoking in vehicle with consent of users) so that it is subject to the prohibition in new section 20D on smoking in motor vehicles carrying child occupants.

Clause 8 amends section 9 (Smoking restrictions in passenger service vehicles) so that the section cannot be used to permit smoking in motor vehicles carrying child occupants as prohibited by new section 20D.

Clause 9 inserts new Part 1A, which is to make motor vehicles smoke-free when they are carrying child occupants. New Part 1A consists of new sections 20B to 20F.

Part 2, clause 11 amends the Summary Proceedings Act 1957. Section 2, which relates to interpretation, is amended by including in the definition of infringement notices those that are issued under new section 20D, as well as section 38C, of the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990.