Ash repeats call for car smoking ban
The anti-smoking group Ash Ireland has today reiterated its call for a ban on smoking in cars transporting children under 16 years of age.
Its call for the ban comes on the eve of Ash Wednesday, traditionally a day chosen by smokers to quit.
However, the Department of Health said this afternoon there are currently no proposals to introduce a ban on smoking in cars where there are children present but it said the matter will be kept under review.
It added that it accepted exposure to cigarette smoke is particularly dangerous in enclosed spaces, such as cars, and it is currently reviewing the measures that have been undertaken in other countries in this regard.
But Dr Angie Brown, chairwoman of Ash Ireland, said passive smoke is a Group 1 cancer-causing carcinogen and as 14 per cent of Irish children are exposed to these carcinogens and other toxic substances in cars our legislators must protect them.
"As we discovered with use of seat belts and use of mobile phones in cars the voluntary code is insufficient," she said.
She stressed that passive smoke can be as much as 23 times more toxic in a car than in a house because of the confined space. Furthermore, she said, in a recent survey 79 per cent of the public said they would support smoke free car laws.
"The Irish Government has set the trend all around the world on tobacco health legislation and has received deserved recognition both at home and abroad. This initiative to protect children's health, while travelling in motor vehicles would be widely welcomed . . . We now ask the Government to proceed and legislate for this health initiative," Dr Brown added.