Mixed reaction to smoking ban move

Sat, Jan 12, 2013, 00:00

Anti-smoking campaign group ASH Ireland has welcomed reports that new legislation to ban smoking in cars with children could be enacted later this year.

Under the draft legislation, which has been approved by Minister for Health James Reilly, both passengers and drivers could face large fines for smoking in a commercial or private vehicle carrying children under the age of 16.

“ASH Ireland first raised this issue, as a possible health initiative, with Minister Harney in 2005,” said chairman Dr Ross Morgan. “In April 2010 ASH Ireland met the newly appointed Minister James Reilly and again pushed for this health initiative to be introduced - and then received a commitment from the Minister that he would proceed as soon as was feasible.

“We now again encourage the Minister to ensure that there are no further delays with a proposal, which has been with his Department for over seven years” Dr Morgan added.

However, smokers' lobby  group Forest Éireann described the move as “disproportionate, illiberal and a distraction from the many more serious issues facing our country”.

Spokesman John Mallon said that while his organisation does not condone adults who smoke in vehicles carrying children, it believed education is far better than legislation.

“For most people their car is a private space so this is a worryingly illiberal step. What next? A ban on smoking in the home if children are present?” he asked.