The “Fresh Start Wales” campaign calls on parents and other carers to pledge to keep their cars smoke free, and thereby protect their children from the health risks associated with second hand smoke in a confined space. The first phase of advertising will feature on local radio, billboards, bus-backs and bus shelters as well as a dedicated website.
The Health Behaviour in School Aged Children survey suggests that around 20 per cent of 11-16 year old school children in Wales report being exposed to smoke the last time they travelled in a car.
Launching the campaign, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Tony Jewell, said,
“Children are particularly at risk from second-hand smoke, especially in vehicles where a confined space means there is no respite from the harm of the toxic chemicals in cigarettes. Exposure to these chemicals puts children at risk from a range of conditions, including sudden infant death syndrome and asthma.
"There is robust evidence that the level of toxic chemicals is very high in cars, even with a window open. The Fresh Start Wales campaign aims to make people aware that smoking in cars is dangerous for their passengers, particularly children.”
In July 2011, the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, announced that the Welsh Government would consider pursuing a ban on smoking in cars carrying children if children’s exposure to second-hand smoke in cars does not start to fall within the next three years.
The First Minister said,
“This campaign is clear in its message: smoking in cars poisons your children.
“Wales was the first UK country to vote in favour of a ban on smoking in public places and if necessary we will not shy away from considering legislation to further protect children from second-hand smoke.
“A ban on smoking in cars carrying children will be considered later in this five-year term of Government if smoking levels do not reduce as a result of the campaign. We have commissioned research to measure levels of smoking in cars and public attitudes towards it, which will be revisited throughout the campaign to evaluate its success.”