Smoking is likely to be banned in family cars as the Government minister leading the charge to a smokefree society steers towards the first incursion into private space by authorities.
Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia this week signalled her intention to make cars with young passengers smokefree before she leaves office next year.
The proposal has outraged libertarians but British American Tobacco says people should not smoke around children.
A spokeswoman for the minister said keeping children safe from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke was part of the Government's goal of a smokefree NZ by 2025.
"The plain packaging for cigarettes is going through next and although the Government doesn't tend to get that far ahead, eliminating smoking in cars with kids is considered a top priority," she said.
Last week, the Herald on Sunday revealed the Ministry of Health was preparing Cabinet documents to stop duty-free concessions for cigarettes.
Libertarianz vice-president Sally O'Brien said fears about smoking in cars with children were "over-hyped" and the plan further villified tobacco users. "The only reason I don't normally smoke in cars with kids is because most people are paranoid."
British American Tobacco executive Susan Jones said the firm was not opposed to a ban, but questioned how it would be enforced.