Victoria, Australia - ban from smoking in cars when children under 18 are present comes into force January 1, 2010..

December 22, 2009 - Victoria gets tough on tobacco with new smoking ban. People will be banned from smoking in motor vehicles with children under 18 when new tobacco laws come into force on January 1, 2010.

Health Minister Daniel Andrews and Quit Victoria Executive Director Fiona Sharkie today said the legal change would help protect children from exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke.

A recent survey found 4 in 10 smokers still light up around children.. This ban is part of the Victoria's tobacco control strategy announced on December 22, 2008. The ban on point-of-sale displays of cigarettes will be mandatory from [starting] January 2011. (Victoria, Australia 5-YR Tobacco Control Strategy.., 12/23/2008)

Mr. Andrews: “The Brumby Labor Government is taking action to reduce the impact of tobacco-related harm to the Victorian community, particularly among children. This new law will mean that no-one is allowed to smoke in a motor vehicle if a person under 18 is present. This ban includes whether the car is moving or not, whether the windows are open or closed, and whether the roof is down or not.”

The maximum penalty for an individual breaking the new law will be five penalty units ($584.10) with an infringement penalty (on the spot fine) of two penalty units ($233.64).

Mr Andrews said the law would encourage more parents to not smoke around children, and quit. “Research shows there is no risk-free level of second-hand smoke in confined areas such as cars, in fact the air quality when a person smokes in a car is similar to that of a smoky pub. Children exposed to second-hand smoke are at increased risk of premature death and disease, as well as reduced lung function, severe asthma, and increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections.”

Mr Andrews said that recent research by the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer at the Cancer Council Victoria highlighted the need for this latest smoking ban. “This research shows that more than two-thirds of secondary school students said there was a ban on smoking in the family car when children were present,” he said. However, almost 20 per cent of those surveyed said that smoking was allowed with the window open, or there were no rules or restrictions on smoking in the car when children were present.

“The research also highlights that smoking habits and attitudes of parents greatly influence the likelihood of students picking up the habit.”

Mr Andrews said the new bans were part of the Brumby Government’s Victorian Tobacco Control Strategy 2008-2013 released last December. (Australia - Comments on the National Preventative Health Taskforce's Proposal..)

“The Government has set an ambitious target to reduce smoking in the adult population by 20 per cent, from 17.3 per cent to 13.8 per cent by 2013,” he said.

Reference: Victoria Gets Tough On Tobacco With New Smoking Ban In Cars, Source: Government of Victoria, 12/20/2009.

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