Quit has renewed calls for Victoria to follow the lead of Tasmania and South Australia and ban smoking in cars when children are present, emphasizing that smoking in cars, even with the window down, produces at least as much harmful second-hand smoke as a smoky bar.
The call comes on World Cancer Day, the theme of which this year is I love my smoke-free childhood.
Executive Director of Quit, Ms Fiona Sharkie said increasing evidence that the limited space of a car increases exposure to second-hand smoke has made smoking ban in cars with children present a Victorian public health priority.
"Children and babies cannot escape from the poisons contained in cigarette smoke when confined in a car with a smoker, so banning smoking in cars when children are present would be a significant step in protecting children against the harms of second-hand smoke."
"We know that younger people are particularly susceptible to illnesses such as pneumonia, middle ear infection and asthma attacks when exposed to second-hand smoke, and being in a car with a smoking adult gives them a concentrated dose of second-hand smoke in a really confined area."
"The rate of SIDS is also higher amongst infants that are exposed to second-hand smoke."
Ms Sharkie said the recent research revealed less than 5% of all Victorians think smoking in cars when children are present should definitely be allowed.
"The overwhelming majority of Victorian smokers are in favour of smoking being stamped out in cars containing children."
"Given the level of support for a ban on smoking in cars with children has hit over 90% amongst smokers we are confident that legislation in the area will be largely self-enforcing."
"We already use seatbelts and special fittings to protect the safety of younger passengers in cars, implementing a ban on smoking in cars when children are present is really a natural extension of this," said Ms Sharkie.
Fiona Sharkie is available for comment on 0437 347 007 or 03 9635 5522
Further information: Edwina Pearse, Media Manager,
ph: (03) 9635 5400 mobile: 0417 303 811 email: firstname.lastname@example.org