Since 2009, smoking in vehicles carrying children under the age of 16 has been banned in Ontario. The law, that comes with a fine for ignoring it, protects children - most vulnerable to the hazards of secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke in vehicles can be up to 27 times more concentrated than in a smoker's home.
Children exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from:
- sudden Infant Death Syndrome;
- acute respiratory infections, ear problems; and
- more severe asthma.
It can also affect a child's ability to reason and understand, and can negatively impact behavior and attention span.
Leftover toxins from smoking can also be harmful if they are playing or spending time in an area where smoking has occurred. This is often referred to as third-hand smoke. That is why it is important to keep vehicles free of tobacco use at all times.
Here are tips to help you keep your vehicle tobacco free:
- Let people traveling with you know that your car is smoke free.
- Offer to stop for cigarette breaks if any of your passengers smoke.
- If you smoke, keep your tobacco in the trunk so you won’t be tempted to light up.
- If you are going on a long trip, schedule stops for cigarette breaks, or time your cigarette breaks with stops for meals or gas.
- Replace smoking with an alternative such as drinking water, chewing gum, or singing along with music.
- If you are traveling with children, stop and turn off the car, step outside away from the vehicle where you have a clear view of them.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about nicotine replacement therapies that can help you when you are ready to make a quit attempt. It’s tough, but you can do it! Not only will your health benefit but you’ll be a positive role model for all children.
- For more information or support, contact Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 or Smokers’ Helpline at 1-877-513-5333.