Smoking ban sought in cars carrying children

 

TDs and senators have been urged to support a campaign by Ash Ireland to ban smoking in cars carrying children.

The anti-tobacco group said the workplace smoking ban protected adults but there was no protection for children travelling in cars with smokers.

It is holding a briefing for all members of the Oireachtas in Dublin today to seek support for its campaign to ban smoking in cars where under-16-year-olds are present.

Ash Ireland's chairwoman Dr Angie Brown said many countries had introduced such bans. "The ban is in place in several Australian regions, in parts of Canada and the United States, in Cyprus, and is under consideration in the Netherlands, South Africa and elsewhere.

There is irrefutable evidence to show that a car can be 23 times more toxic than a home environment in the context of passive smoke," she said.

She said children had much higher respiratory rates and metabolism than adults which made exposure to passive smoke in vehicles a serious health risk.

"Children are unlikely to ask adults not to smoke when they are being transported - so we must take this important health initiative out of their hands by introducing legislation to address this issue," she said.

Environmentalist and television presenter Duncan Stewart said he would always urge parents not to smoke when driving with children. "However, the Government can make this easier for all of us by just banning the practice of smoking in cars transporting children - and people will comply with this," he said.

Dr Brown said the ban could be introduced within months if politicians supported it.