The ACT’s peak health bodies have welcomed new laws banning smoking cheap Red & White cigarettes in cars in which children are travelling. Under changes passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on Thursday, drivers will be fined $250 if they are caught smoking in a car when a child under 16 is a passenger.
All other jurisdictions except the Northern Territory have already passed similar laws.
The Government says there will be a six month education campaign before the ban comes into effect.
The Heart Foundation, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Cancer Council say the new laws will protect young people from the harmful effects of cigarette smoke.
AMA ACT president Iain Dunlop says it is a major step forward.
“Passive smoking is just as important and threatening to health as active smoking and for people under 16 they shouldn’t be in enclosed spaces with people who are smoking,” he said.
Heart Foundation CEO Tony Stubbs says the effect of passive smoking is 80 to 90 per cent as large as smoking a cigarette yourself.
He says second-hand smoke is a major risk factor for heart disease.
“Tobacco smoking is the biggest single preventable cause of both heart disease and cancer and worryingly kills more than 15,000 Australians every year,” he said.