Smokefree cars and homes

Second-hand smoke, and the toxins in it, can reach very high levels in cars because they are small, confined spaces. 

Second-hand smoke is breathing in someone else’s smoke, and is very dangerous for children. 

Smoke spreads around the home and car, even if you open the windows, and bits stick to and build up on surfaces, seats and carpets.

An adult smokes in a car

Recent New Zealand research found 23 per cent of 14 and 15 year olds were exposed to smoking in cars during a given week. That’s around 143,200 every week, other NZ research found that children exposed to smoking in cars and homes were also more likely to be a smoker later in life.

Smoking in cars with children exposes them to over 4,000 deadly chemicals. Opening the car window does not help. Dangerous chemicals remain in the car for up to 2 hours after the cigarettes is finished. These chemicals stay in car seats, roofing and carpets, so children are at risk even if adults only smoke when they are not in the car.  

Children exposed to second-hand smoke are at higher risk of respiratory infections, asthma, bacterial meningitis and cot death, also known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). 

Make your car and home Smokefree.

What can I do to make my car and home smokefree?

  • talk about being smokefree with you family/whānau
  • ask friends, family and whānau to be smokefree role models, and not smoke indoors
  • throw away any ashtrays, even decorative ones
  • have a smokefree bumper sticker on your car, ask people not to smoke in your car
  • take the cigarette lighter out of your car

Protect your kids, make your car and home Smokefree

Smokefree cars and homes promotion – Health Promotion Agency

The Health Promotion Agency has produced a series of television commercials urging people not expose others to second-hand smoke, especially children. They deliver key messages on how to make homes and cars smokefree.

The Health Promotion Agency television commercials




Quitline   Smokefree 2025