Protect the health of your children: A guide to making your home and car smokefree - HE1802

May 2023
This resource relates to the following topics:

On keeping your home and car smokefree and being a positive role model against smoking. Describes the risks of second-hand smoke, especially to children, as it can increase the likelihood of chest infections and contains many poisons known to cause cancer.

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May 2023
May 2023
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The full resource:

What’s the issue?

Smoking around children and young people is harmful.


  • They will be exposed to second-hand smoke, and children who breathe in second-hand smoke are more likely to develop illnesses such as chest infections, glue ear and asthma.
  • Exposure to second-hand smoke increases the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI).
  • Young people who have friends/family/whānau who smoke are more likely to become smokers.

From 28 November 2021 it became illegal to smoke in a vehicle that has children in it.

Second-hand smoke

Second-hand smoke contains more than 200 poisons, some of which can cause cancer.

Second-hand smoke is a mix of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette plus the smoke blown into the air by the person smoking.

  • The concentration of some poisons is higher in second-hand smoke than in the smoke being breathed in by the smoker.
  • The lungs and body weight of children are small so the poisons found in second-hand smoke are more harmful to them.
  • Babies and young children may not be able to move away from second-hand smoke.

Second-hand smoke in your home and car

  • Opening or winding down a window will not remove all of the poisons.
  • The poisons will linger long after the smoke and smell have disappeared.

Easy steps to making your home and car smokefree

  • Make a rule – your home and car are smokefree at all times for everyone.
  • Remove all ashtrays from your home.
  • Clean out your car ashtray.
  • Remove the cigarette lighter from your car.
  • Let other people know – put Smokefree/Auahi Kore stickers on your windows.
  • Ask your family and whānau to support you by not smoking in your home and car.

Be a positive role model and don’t smoke around children at any time. They’ll be less likely to become smokers.

For further information visit or contact your nearest public health unit

If you need support to stop smoking visit or contact Quitline on 0800 778 778 or text QUIT to 4006 



Code: HE1802