Sunday 24 September 2017

Drive it out Call to ban smoking in cars carrying children

Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

CHILDREN who are exposed to secondhand smoke in cars are at increased risk of developing asthma and lung infections, TDs were told yesterday.

ASH Ireland stepped up its campaign to have smoking banned in cars where under 16s are present by lobbying TDs face to face in advance of the start of Lent.

Dr Angie Brown, chairwoman of ASH Ireland, said the ban has been already introduced in several regions in Australia and the United States, while it is being considered in the Netherlands and South Africa.

"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 warned.

"Combined with the fact that children have a much higher respiratory rates and metabolism than adults it makes it a serious problem for young people," said Dr Brown.

Dr Brown was joined at yesterday's event in Dublin by environmentalist and television presenter Duncan Stewart who said the Government could make it easier for everyone to comply by just making lighting up in a car with children illegal.

In the meantime Dr Brown urged parents to heed the public health warning and never smoke in a car with children.

She said: "Children are unlikely to ask adults to stop smoking so we must take this important decision out of their hands."

Meanwhile, the Department of Health confirmed yesterday it will be proceeding with stricter regulations from July which force shopkeepers to keep all cigarette packets and tobacco products out of sight of customers.

Speaking in advance of National No Smoking Day today Junior Health Minister Mary Wallace said from July 1 there will be a ban on in-store and point-of-sale advertising of tobacco products. They cannot be displayed and they will have to kept in a closed container.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) urged people to use the beginning of Lent to try to give up the habit.

The National Smokers Quitline is available on 1850 201 203.

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