Australian Medical Association Victoria (AMA) President Dr Mark Yates has praised the support from various health lobby groups and Democrats Leader Senator Lyn Allison to ban smoking in cars carrying passengers, and in particular children.
"This is not about taking away freedom of choice; we are talking about the harsh effects on health that exposure to passive smoking can have on passengers,” Dr Yates said.
Dr Yates said that parents need to be aware that when they light up a cigarette in a car carrying children, due to the tight confinement, they are exposing them to toxic poison 23 times more deadly than in the home.
"If adults choose to smoke, that’s their prerogative, but they should not have the right to expose other passengers, especially children to lethal smoke that kills around 13 Victorians every day,” Dr Yates said.
"Smoking is the largest preventable cause of death in Australia,” Dr Yates said.
"AMA Victoria is naturally supporting the smoking legislation currently before parliament that bans smoking in pubs, clubs and transport stations from 2006; however Australians will continue to die from second hand smoke related diseases if we don’t include other areas of intense tobacco smoke exposure,” Dr Yates said.
Dr Yates said that AMA Victoria would push for the State government to immediately respect the rights of children and other passengers in cars who are currently exposed to fatal second hand smoke and legislate a ban on smoking in cars.
"A car is such a confined space and the condensed toxins are so severe it really is just plain cruel to force children and other passengers to be exposed to it,” Dr Yates said.
Dr Yates said that AMA Victoria is committed to protecting the rights of non-smokers to smoke free air and will continue to push the government to consider a ban on smoking in cars.
"We do live in a democratic society and people can smoke if they choose to, but we can’t possibly knowingly harm our children, wives, husbands and friends,” Dr Yates said.