03 June 2015
Smoke-free cars regulations have been given a resounding vote of confidence by States Members, who voted unanimously in favour of the new measures this week. From 1 September 2015, it will be against the law to smoke in a motor vehicle carrying young people under the age of 18.
This law protects children and young people from the known harms of second-hand smoke; estimates suggest that as many as 1,800 young people in Jersey may be exposed to second-hand smoke on a weekly basis.
Martin Knight Head of Health Improvement said “Children are particularly vulnerable to second-hand smoke, but often do not have any choice in whether they are exposed.
Consultant Paediatrician Dr Mark Jones added “Levels of second-hand smoke in cars can be very high because of the restricted area within a car. Breathing in second-hand tobacco smoke (also known as passive smoking) can cause eye and throat irritation, headache and trigger or worsen an attack of asthma in children. Whilst second-hand smoke is harmful to everyone, children are especially at risk whilst their lungs are still developing.”
To support the regulations, a smoke-free cars campaign will be launched on Monday 8 June. A range of methods will be used to make Islanders aware of the harms of second-hand smoke, with a focus on cars and on raising awareness of the date of enforcement. Posters will be placed in key areas, including car parks and on Victoria Avenue.
Competition for school pupils and parents
A primary schools smoke-free cars competition will also be launched, asking parents/guardians and grandparents to show their support by declaring that their family cars are smoke-free. The school with the largest proportion of responses received will win a prize. Car stickers will be available to be displayed in smoke-free vehicles.
“Smokers may be concerned about coping without smoking, but we want to promote the message that they can cope when children are in the car as the average journey is three miles,” said Help2Quit Coordinator Rhona Reardon.
For smokers who are thinking of using the change in the law as an opportunity to quit smoking, 19 local pharmacies can offer a comprehensive eight-week support programme proven to increase the chance of quitting smoking.
Access the Help2Quit stop smoking service