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Public attitudes to laws for smokefree private vehicles: A brief review
  1. George Thomson,
  2. Nick Wilson
  1. University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand
  1. E-mail: george.thomson{at}


Objective: As smokefree cars policy is a frontier domain for tobacco control, we briefly reviewed attitudes to smokefree private car laws.

Data sources: We undertook Medline and Google Scholar searches for the period to mid November 2008, in English language sources.

Study selection: Studies were included that contained data from national and sub-national populations (eg, in states and provinces), but not for smaller administrative units, eg, cities or councils.

Data extraction: Jurisdiction, sample size, and survey questions were assessed. One reviewer conducted the data extraction and both authors conducted assessments.

Data synthesis: We identified 15 relevant studies (from 1988), set in North America, the UK and Australasia. The available data indicates that, for the jurisdictions with data, there is majority public support for laws requiring cars that contain children to be smokefree. There appears to be an increase over time in this support. In five surveys in 2005 or since (in California, New Zealand and Australia), this support from smokers was 77% or more.

Conclusions: The high levels of public (and smoker) support for smokefree car laws found in the studies to date suggest that this can be a relatively non-controversial tobacco control intervention. Survey series on attitudes to such laws are needed, and surveys in jurisdictions where the issue has not been investigated to date.

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