The majority of Canadians (82 per cent) say they support a ban on smoking in vehicles with children younger than 18 years of age, according to a national poll released by the Canadian Cancer Society. The poll results also show that more than two-thirds of smokers (69 per cent) support a ban.
“These poll results clearly tell us that Canadians are ready for action to protect the health of children,” says Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society. “Protecting infants and children from second-hand smoke in cars is critical as they are more severely affected by exposure.”
In December 2007, Nova Scotia became the first province to adopt legislation banning smoking in vehicles with children under the age of 19. This built on similar, ground-breaking legislation passed by Wolfville, Nova Scotia in November 2007.
“We believe the Nova Scotia legislation is the start of a groundswell of change across Canada,” says Cunningham. “With the support of Canadians firmly behind us, the Society will continue to work hard to make sure this important health legislation is adopted by other provinces and municipalities across Canada.”
In Ontario, MPP David Orazietti introduced a private member’s bill in December 2007 to ban smoking in vehicles with children. In British Columbia, MLA Leonard Krog introduced a similar private member’s bill in November 2007.
“On the eve of National Non-Smoking Week, we urge governments to show they are listening to their constituents,” says Cunningham. “Legislation banning smoking in vehicles with children must be made a priority.”
Cunningham encourages parents, caregivers and others not to wait for legislation to pass to protect the health of their children. “When you buckle up, butt out.”
In addition to the legislation adopted in Nova Scotia, laws banning smoking in vehicles with children have been passed in California, Arkansas, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, Bangor (Maine), Keyport (New Jersey), Rockland County (New York), and the Australian states of South Australia and Tasmania. A number of other states are in the process of enacting this type of legislation.
Source: Canadian Cancer Society, Canada