Thursday, March 19, 2009

$109 Fine For Smoking With Child in Car in British Columbia Apr. 7


VICTORIA Children under the age of 16 will be protected from second-hand smoke in all motor vehicles when new regulations come into effect April 7, World Health Day, announced Public Safety Minister John van Dongen and Healthy Living and Sport Minister Mary Polak.

“Any level of second-hand smoke has harmful effects on a child’s health, so it’s important that we protect vulnerable children who are confined in a vehicle,” said Polak. “By making vehicles smoke-free for children under 16, we can help them get the best and healthiest start in life.”

Individuals found to be in violation of the law will be subject to a $109 ticket, which is the same as a booster seat fine. Failure to pay will result in a refusal to issue both a driver’s licence and insurance. Police will have the authority to stop any vehicle when they suspect someone is smoking in the presence of a child under the age of 16.

B.C. joins other jurisdictions that have banned smoking in cars when children are present, including Nova Scotia, Ontario and the Yukon.

“We congratulate the B.C. government for taking this significant step to protect children and youth from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke,” said Barbara Kaminsky, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon division. “The dangers of second-hand smoke are more pronounced in the enclosed space of a vehicle, and children – who are more susceptible to its harmful effects – have no choice but to breathe it in. These regulations, which raise the health outcomes of children, and are supported by the public, make sense.”

The regulations follow legislation that was passed in the spring of 2008 under the Motor Vehicle Act. The laws support the Province’s larger tobacco control strategy, which aims to further reduce the provincial smoking rates and also protect children from second-hand smoke. B.C.’s recent initiatives include a provincewide policy in October 2008 that saw all health authority facilities throughout the province go smoke-free.

In March 2008, government implemented legislation that banned smoking in indoor public spaces and workplaces and restricted the way tobacco is displayed and sold. As well, in September 2007, legislation was implemented that banned tobacco use in schools and on school grounds.


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