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Aust N Z J Public Health. 2008 Feb;32(1):60-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2008.00167.x.

Banning smoking in cars carrying children: an analytical history of a public health advocacy campaign.

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School of Public Health, University of Sydney, New South Wales.



Framing public health policy reform in ways that attract public and political support is a core skill of advocacy. In this paper we summarise the 12-year Australian history of advocacy for banning smoking in cars carrying children, culminating in the governments of the Australian States of South Australia and Tasmania enacting legislation.


'Smoking in cars' was searched on the print news media database, with returns limited to Australian newspapers published before 1 June 2007.


The issue of smoking in cars received extensive and emotive media coverage, primarily in support of legislating a ban. Invoking the protection of vulnerable children in the debate about smoking in cars was a powerful and persuasive theme. Unlike all other advocacy for smoke-free areas, this debate was not contested by the tobacco industry or other commercial interest groups.


Even in the absence of a co-ordinated advocacy campaign, public opinion studies on support for such legislation have been consistently strong. Communities view the protection of children as paramount and non-negotiable.


Smoke-free cars legislation can and should be fast tracked in order to capitalise on this community support.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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