Children Exposed to Secondhand Smoke in Vehicles
Children Exposed to Secondhand Smoke in Private Vehicles
The 2006 Smoke-Free Ontario Act protects workers, patrons and the general public from secondhand smoke in workplaces and public places in Ontario. In January 2009 it was expanded to ban smoking or holding lit tobacco in motor vehicles carrying passengers under the age of 16.
Fewer Ontario children are being exposed to secondhand smoke while riding in private vehicles. According to the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), the number of children regularly exposed to secondhand smoke in vehicles has been reduced by more than half since 2003. In 2013, 7% (5.6%, 9.5%) of Ontario non-smoking children (12-15 years) reported being exposed to secondhand smoke either daily or almost every day in a car or other private vehicle. The prevalence of non-smoking children exposed to secondhand smoke in a vehicle has remained below 10 per cent since 2010.
According to the 2014 Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS) survey in Simcoe Muskoka, 85% (82.7%, 88.1%) of adult drivers, 18 years and older, reported that smoking is never allowed in the vehicle they drive the most. The prevalence of smoke-free vehicles has remained consistently above 80 per cent over the past five years of data collection (from 2010 to 2014). Having a smoke-free vehicle is more common among older drivers and drivers with higher levels of education and income.