Smokefree cars and homes


Reducing exposure to second-hand smoke in cars and homes are two areas where we can really make a difference to prevent smoking-related illnesses.

It is easy to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke for your family and whanau.

Here are some tips:

  • Make a rule - your car and home are smokefree at all times for everyone.
  • Ask your family and whānau to support you by not smoking in your car or home.
  • Remove ashtrays in your home.
  • Remove lighters.
  • Be a positive role model and don't smoke around children. This means they are less likely to grow up to be smokers themselves.

Children often do not have the choice to move away from smoke and are more vulnerable to its effects. 

Recent research shows that nine of 10 people agree that smoking in cars should be banned when children are in them.

Read more about the public support for smoking being banned in cars and other areas.

For information on making your car and home smokefree

To view the information in other languages

Reducing exposure to second-hand smoke - new campaign

HPA has launched a campaign to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke for children, primarily in cars and homes.

The campaign features radio and television advertisements. The television ads are refreshed versions of an earlier 2006 campaign.

Listen to the radio ads »

View the television ads »

Media release template » (with images) [Word, 376KB] This media release provides a possible story where you can insert local information before sending on to media. It includes images from the campaign that you might like to use.

Information about second-hand smoke

More than 350 New Zealanders die each year due to of exposure to second-hand smoke.

Second-hand smoke contains a lethal mix of more than 4,000 chemicals such as arsenic, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia and carbon monoxide. Two hundred of these chemicals have been identified as poisonous and can cause cancer. 

Second-hand smoke is when you are exposed to the harms of tobacco being smoked near you.  This can be from exhaled smoke or from a lit cigarette. Second-hand smoke is the leading environmental cause of death in this country. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke and those who are exposed may suffer from many of the same diseases as regular smokers, such as coronary heart disease, lung cancer, acute stroke, eye and nasal irritation and nasal sinus cancer.

Children are our most valuable asset and are particularly vulnerable to second-hand smoke due to their smaller lungs and lower body weight.  Children need to be protected from second-hand smoke as much as possible as it can cause:

  • middle ear infections (including glue ear/otitis media)
  • lower respiratory illnesses (including croup, bronchitis, bronchiolitis and pneumonia)
  • the onset of asthma and worsening of asthmatic symptoms
  • reduced lung growth
  • sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI also known as SIDS or cot death)
  • meningococcal disease
  • and may effect a child’s learning development and behaviour.

Exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy can reduce foetal growth and other complications.

For more information about the health effects of smoking