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News laws mean Victorian children will breathe a little easier tomorrow

New laws preventing people from smoking in cars with children as passengers will take effect tomorrow, meaning Victorian kids will start the new year with a breathe of fresh air.

Other new tobacco reforms being introduced from midnight include a ban on the sale of tobacco products from temporary outlets and a power for the Minister for Health to ban the sale of certain tobacco products and packaging that appeal to young people.

Executive Director of Quit, Ms Fiona Sharkie, said the new laws underlined how important it is to protect children from the potentially devastating harms of exposure to second-hand smoke.

"We have laws in place that protect colleagues from second-hand smoke in the workplace, and friends from second-hand smoke in the pub so it makes absolute sense that we now have laws that will protect our most cherished loved ones from second-hand smoke in the car."

"Children exposed to second-hand smoke have higher rates of many different clinical diseases including asthma, pneumonia, meningococcal disease and sudden infant death syndrome."

Ms Sharkie said despite the popular myth winding down the window when smoking in a car does not lessen the harmful health effects.

"Second-hand smoke affects the health of both non-smokers and smokers.  There are at least 250 chemicals in second-hand smoke that are known to be toxic, including more than 50 that are known to cause cancer."

Ms Sharkie said these laws, designed to protect young people from exposure to second-hand smoke and prevent them from taking up smoking and would be welcome by the Victorian community.

"There is no doubt the Victorian public embraces legislation aimed at putting kids before cigarettes."

"In fact, research released this year shows more than 95% of all Victorians strongly agreed or agreed that smokefree cars and homes were important in protecting the family from second-hand smoke, while about 3% strongly disagreed or disagreed that smokefree cars and homes were important."

Ms Sharkie said 1 in 10 smokers also strongly agree or agree that smokefree cars and homes are important ways of protecting the family from the harms of second-hand smoke.

Jessica Longbottom,
Media Coordinator
ph: (03) 9635 5498
mob: 0438 714 264
email: Jessica.Longbottom@cancervic.org.au

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