Ban on smoking in cars gets Minister's support


THE CAMPAIGN to ban smoking in cars carrying children received a boost yesterday when Minister of State Seán Power said he believed it had every prospect of success.

The anti-smoking group Ash Ireland is seeking a ban on smoking in cars transporting children under- 16-years-old. It briefed Oireachtas members on the campaign yesterday, on the eve of Ash Wednesday, traditionally a day chosen by smokers to quit.

“I’d be very supportive of this,” Mr Power said. “I will work within the party to support it and move it forward. There’s no reason why we can’t make progress with this.”

Labour’s health spokeswoman Jan O’Sullivan said it would be very easy to introduce the ban and she would see if Labour could draft a simple piece of legislation on the issue. “I don’t see how any party wouldn’t support it.”

Ash Ireland’s chairwoman Dr Angie Brown said the workplace smoking ban protected adults but there was no protection for children travelling in cars with smokers. She pointed to Canadian research which found that 26 per cent of children had travelled in a car that someone had smoked in, in the past week and said the situation was similar in Ireland.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said the issue of introducing such a ban “will be kept under review”, but she added: “Parents and others with responsibility for the welfare of children have a particular responsibility to ensure that such exposure does not take place.”

Meanwhile, the HSE and the Irish Cancer Society have encouraged people to quit smoking today, Ash Wednesday, which is also National No Smoking Day.

An estimated 29 per cent of people living in Ireland smoke.